A safer, more secure world with Augmented Reality

Recently, TWNKLS teamed up with the Dutch police and the Delft University of Technology to have a closer look at how AR can add value in the domain of safety and security; and with very positive results! Here we share some of the lessons we’ve learned.

Safety & security

From saving lives to safeguarding sensitive information, there is a lot at stake for operators in the safety and security industries. The slightest error can have grave consequences, and operators rely heavily on the tools available to them. That’s where TWNKLS comes in. Before diving into the technology and possible AR solutions, we had to identify the areas that needed the most attention.

Case study: police – challenges of the traditional approach

Simply stated: field agents report to the office at the start of their shift for briefing. They make a plan for the day and then go out into the field to take action. Any updates on new incidents received at the control center are communicated simultaneously to all field agents. An agent in the area, when available, will respond as soon as possible for more detail. At the end of their shift, the field agents report back and are required to document the various incidents of the day from memory.

In this example, we see challenges in three main areas: (1) coordination of agents in the field by a centralized control center, (2) communication of new incidents and (3) delayed reporting.

Advantages of AR for safety & security:

TWNKLS is currently developing, in collaboration with the Dutch police and the Tu Delft , a new AR system to address these types of challenges. To do so effectively, we are building on 5 years of scientific findings from the Delft University of Technology in this area. The AR system offers the following advantages:

  • More informed decision-making due to detailed situational awareness.
  • Action made possible in much shorter time frames with instant information exchange.
  • Greater accuracy with high-precision tracking and minimal margin of error.
  • Improved collaboration between distributed individuals and teams.
  • Increased common understanding among people with different knowledge and expertise with visual communication tools.
  • Quicker reporting and less paperwork with accurate and instant documentation.

Lessons learned

Three lessons that stood out from working with AR in the safety & security domain:

EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL: The best way to coordinate a large number of field agents is to empower them to do it themselves. Provide them with the right information at the right time, as well as the tools to take action directly. Enabling them to collaborate requires creating a common understanding and a common language for them to communicate effectively.

MINIMIZE PERIPHERAL TASKS: AR can be used to minimize the amount of time spent on tasks that are related to the core work being done. For example, by making reporting easy and instantaneous for the field agents, more time can be spent on the investigative work needed to make decisions and take action.

MAKE CHANGE FAMILIAR: Integrating the technology into the existing way of working leads to faster, more natural adoption of a new system. Our technology is designed to work with a range of devices including smartphones, tablets and eyewear, depending on what is most practical. One more reason the end users were enthusiastic about the AR system is that it’s a lot of fun to work with, too!


The core technologies

-       High-precision tracking with TWNKLS’ state-of-the-art SLAM system.

  • Accurate GPS tracking both outdoor and indoor with a miniscule margin of error,
  • Real-time location & mapping for better coordination and communication between various remote and field agent,
  • 3D scanning for accurate reconstruction of a room or landscape,
  • Effective filtering of information for field agents based on their location so they receive relevant and timely information.

-       Remote AR collaboration.

  • Real-time audio-video feed for multiple remote parties,
  • Visual cues and annotation can be shared directly on the screen,
  • Notes and images can be saved directly for documentation purposes.

Future of collaborative AR

Looking ahead, we see a future for collaborative AR that incorporates Empathic Computer technology. Addressing the challenges of working remotely, this technology enhances empathy among distributed users when engaged in collaborative AR shared experiences.
You can also read this article titled ‘Dutch Police discovers an ar system to identify criminals’ which was published on Infinityleap.

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