Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Augmented reality


Electronic skins equipped with artificial receptors are able to extend our perception beyond the modalities that have naturally evolved. These synthetic receptors offer complimentary information on our surroundings and endow us with novel means of manipulating physical or even virtual objects. We realize highly compliant magnetosensitive skins with directional perception that enable magnetic cognition, body position tracking, and touchless object manipulation. Transfer printing of eight high-performance spin valve sensors arranged into two Wheatstone bridges onto 1.7-μm-thick polyimide foils ensures mechanical imperceptibility. This resembles a new class of interactive devices extracting information from the surroundings through magnetic tags. We demonstrate this concept in augmented reality systems with virtual knob-turning functions and the operation of virtual dialing pads, based on the interaction with magnetic fields. This technology will enable a cornucopia of applications from navigation, motion tracking in robotics, regenerative medicine, and sports and gaming to interaction in supplemented reality.

Concepts: Psychology, Magnetic field, Cognition, Virtual reality, Concept, Object, Mind, Augmented reality


Pokémon GO is a location-based augmented reality game. Using GPS and the camera on a smartphone, the game requires players to travel in real world to capture animated creatures, called Pokémon. We examined the impact of Pokémon GO on physical activity (PA).

Concepts: Mind, Camera, Universe, Reality, 2000s American television series, Augmented reality, Simulated reality, Virtual reality



To compare the traditional teaching approach of binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO) to the EyeSI augmented reality (AR) BIO simulator.

Concepts: Augmented reality


Cognitive impairment, as well as mood and anxiety disorders, occur frequently in patients following stroke. Aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a combined rehabilitative treatment using conventional relaxation and respiratory techniques, in a specific rehabilitative virtual environment (by using Bts-Nirvana). A 58-year-old woman, affected by hemorrhagic stroke, underwent two different rehabilitation trainings, including either standard relaxation techniques alone in a common clinical setting or the same psychological approach in a semi-immersive virtual environment with an augmented sensorial (audio-video) and motor feedback (sensory motor-interaction). We evaluated the patient’s cognitive and psychological profile before and after the two different trainings, by using a specific psychometric battery, aimed to assess cognitive status, attention processes and to estimate the presence of mood alterations, anxiety and coping strategies. Only at the end of the combined approach, we observed a significant improvement in attention and memory functions, with a nearly complete relief of anxiety symptoms and an improvement in coping strategies. Relaxation and respiratory techniques in a semi-immersive virtual reality environment, using Bts-Nirvana, may be a promising tool in improving attention process, coping strategies, and anxiety in individuals with neurological disorders, including stroke.

Concepts: Augmented reality, Cognitive psychology, Human behavior, Educational psychology, Memory, Anxiety, Virtual reality, Psychology


Many critical activities require visual attention to be distributed simultaneously among distinct tasks where the attended foci are not spatially separated. In our two experiments, participants performed a large number of trials where both a primary task (enumeration of spots) and a secondary task (reporting the presence/absence or identity of a distinctive shape) required the division of visual attention. The spots and the shape were commingled spatially and the shape appeared unpredictably on a relatively small fraction of the trials. The secondary task stimulus (the shape) was reported in inverse proportion to the attentional load imposed by the primary task (enumeration of spots). When the shape did appear, performance on the primary task (enumeration) suffered relative to when the shape was absent; both speed and accuracy were compromised. When the secondary task required identification in addition to detection, reaction times increased by about 200 percent. These results are broadly compatible with biased competition models of perceptual processing. An important area of application, where the commingled division of visual attention is required, is the augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD). This innovation has the potential to make operating vehicles safer but our data suggest that there are significant concerns regarding driver distraction.

Concepts: C, Elementary arithmetic, Sample size, Activity, Similarity, Task, Attention, Augmented reality


Pokémon GO (Niantic Labs, released on 22 July 2016 in Japan) is an augmented reality game that gained huge popularity worldwide. Despite concern about Pokémon GO-related traffic collisions, the effect of playing Pokémon GO on the incidence of traffic injuries remains unknown. We performed a population-based quasi-experimental study using national data from the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis, Japan. The outcome was incidence of traffic injuries. Of 127 082 000 people in Japan, 886 fatal traffic injuries were observed between 1 June and 31 August in 2016. Regression discontinuity analysis showed a non-significant change in incidence of fatal traffic injuries after the Pokémon GO release (0.017 deaths per million, 95%CI -0.036 to 0.071). This finding was similar to that obtained from a difference-in-differences analysis. Effect of Pokémon GO on fatal traffic injuries may be negligible.

Concepts: Virtual reality, Road transport, Scientific method, Tram accident, Augmented reality


Pokémon GO is the most played augmented reality game in history. With more than 44 million players at the peak of its popularity, the game has sparked interest on its effects on the young population’s health.

Concepts: Player, Players at the Game of People, Mind, Simulated reality, Virtual reality, Augmented reality


Pokémon Go has been subject to much attention - from both the players that download the augmented reality game and the news media. Amid the exaggerated media reports, Pokémon Go may have unintended health benefits. Players have reported walking more, spending more time with family, experiencing improvements in their mental health and feeling more connected to their communities. It is hard to imagine public health researchers developing a similar game that is fun, taps into pop culture, reaches a wide target audience, makes use of physical and virtual environments, creates a sense of both competition and community, and has spin-off health benefits. Companies that endanger public health immediately recognised the value of the Pokémon Go app, and exploited it to advertise and promote consumption of unhealthy foods. Public health stakeholders need to develop mobile-based interventions within a framework that embraces pleasure, rewards, participation and community. Public health agencies need to be just as nimble and responsive as companies that are harmful to health, or forever be creating games that nobody plays.

Concepts: Health economics, Augmented reality, Health insurance, Health, Virtual reality, Health care, Public health


Although in vivo exposure is the treatment of choice for specific phobias, some acceptability problems have been associated with it. Virtual Reality exposure has been shown to be as effective as in vivo exposure, and it is widely accepted for the treatment of specific phobias, but only preliminary data are available in the literature about the efficacy of Augmented Reality. The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy and acceptance of two treatment conditions for specific phobias in which the exposure component was applied in different ways: In vivo exposure (N = 31) versus an Augmented Reality system (N = 32) in a randomized controlled trial. “One-session treatment” guidelines were followed. Participants in the Augmented Reality condition significantly improved on all the outcome measures at post-treatment and follow-ups. When the two treatment conditions were compared, some differences were found at post-treatment, favoring the participants who received in vivo exposure. However, these differences disappeared at the 3- and 6-month follow-ups. Regarding participants' expectations and satisfaction with the treatment, very positive ratings were reported in both conditions. In addition, participants from in vivo exposure condition considered the treatment more useful for their problem whereas participants from Augmented Reality exposure considered the treatment less aversive. Results obtained in this study indicate that Augmented Reality exposure is an effective treatment for specific phobias and well accepted by the participants.

Concepts: Phobias, Efficacy, In vivo, Specific phobia, Augmented reality, Randomized controlled trial, Virtual reality, Phobia