SmartEyes enables remote learning in JICA’s technical cooperation program
Congratulations to AREA member Augumenta as they announce they have been selected to supply software and systems integration services to support technical training programs for life sciences and agricultural researchers in Africa working with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The training solution is based on the Augumenta SmartEyes system, which uses camera-equipped smart glasses to connect field workers in Africa with Japanese experts who can view the local scene and provide instructions and support in real-time.
JICA is responsible for delivering Japan’s official development assistance as an implementing agency, providing ODA Loan and Grant Aid, and executing Technical Cooperation in developing countries. With approximately 100 offices and a network of people cooperating within its numerous programs running all over the world, the organization provides, for example, technical training for participants from developing countries in a wide range of fields, such as medical, industrial, and agricultural fields.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, JICA programs allowed Japanese counterparts to host experts and researchers from developing countries in Japan and thousands of Japanese experts to travel to the target countries to arrange hands-on training locally. The pandemic caused disruptions to the programs: experts have been forced to evacuate and the hosting of trainees has been suspended. Last autumn, JICA launched an open call for proposals to find solutions that enable the programs to continue operating despite travel restrictions.
The Augumenta solution will initially be deployed in two countries in Africa as a tool to aid technical guidance:
- In the medical field, including infectious disease control, between the researchers at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana and experts in research institutions in Japan;
- In the field of infectious disease control between the University of Hokkaido and The School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia;
- In the field of agriculture, connecting experts in Japan and the Agriculture Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia studying rice cultivation. Augumenta’s SmartEyes solution matched the criteria set by JICA and was selected out of the 24 submitted proposals to provide the much-needed communication solution.
SmartEyes fulfills the key program requirements, including:
- Needs to work with varying network conditions.
- Does not require the researcher to stop working to communicate.
- Provides proper visibility to the target, traditional webcams have not been sufficient.
- Short learning curve, the solution does not require technical expertise to be used.
- Can be customized based on JICA’s needs.
Read more about this in the full press release