health and safety issues with augmented reality

You need to be aware of an important augmented reality health and safety issue!

Mobile augmented reality (AR) experiences offer tremendous potential for education, entertainment and experiential joy. Nevertheless, it’s vital that attraction operations and development managers are aware of a critical augmented reality health and safety issue. This applies particularly to the practicalities of how this technology is employed.

Below we highlight an important issue that need considering before commissioning augmented reality for visitor attractions:

Physical safety using augmented reality

It’s a lovely prospect, commissioning an augmented reality trail around your attraction, something that could provide great enjoyment for visitors. But in reality this type of scheme can be fraught with liability. This is something you should carefully consider in this litigious day-and-age.  The key to visitor safety is obstacle avoidance – it’s just common sense!

augmented reality health and safety issues

Obstacle avoidance and wayfinding issues for augmented reality health and safety

Augmented reality on your mobile phone requires your full attention. You’re viewing digital images placed in a virtual 3D space overlaid on an actual place. It’s an immersive experience altogether, and it’s quite dangerous attempting to view this whilst walking about at speed. Undoubtedly, it’s much safer to install augmented reality exhibits at various locations sited around your attraction. But be wary of using augmented reality as a tool for wayfinding. This is undoubtedly reckless from a health and safety liability viewpoint.

Consider this fairly common scenario!

OK, so there’s a visitor using their mobile phone to follow your augmented reality wayfinding experience at your heritage attraction or destination. This takes them from point A to point B at your attraction. During the augmented reality navigation, their gaze is firmly fixed on their mobile screen. Because of this, they accidentally trip over on a raised kerb stone. Unfortunately, they fall over, breaking a bone in their leg or arm. Subsequently, they’re off work on sick leave for 8-10 weeks.

The ‘legal’ consequences

Following this accident, they engage a no-win, no-fee solicitor to sue the attraction’s owners for negligence. This is to cover loss of earnings, inconvenience and out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, this type of scenario where a visitor falls over and breaks bones is a fairly regular occurrence at UK attractions.

Conclusion – augmented reality health and safety

The point is that visitors to your attraction must retain spatial awareness whilst walking around for their own safety. On that basis, it’s wise to carefully consider the risks of using augmented reality for mobile wayfinding at your attraction. Our default mode is to carry out a basic augmented reality health and safety analysis of your site at outset, which is made available for consideration. We generally advise against augmented reality wayfinding. You really cannot be too careful with regard to visitor health and safety at your attraction. This is particularly true if you worry about keeping insurance claims (and premiums) to a minimum.

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