Possibilities in the XR field

What are the possibilities in the XR field? 

By Kimmo Pakarinen, RDI Advisor in Information Technology
Savonia University of Applied Sciences

The Future Technologies in Education project concentrates on implementing XR technologies in healthcare. As it is mentioned in our earlier blog post (https://futureedu.savonia.fi/2020/01/29/understanding-the-use-of-xr-applications-in-healthcare-field/), there are quite a few XR solutions for healthcare education. But how about other fields? What other fields can benefit or use XR technologies?

XR technologies are well taken by the entertainment industry such as gaming and 3D movies. More and more games and movies are being developed to use XR technologies. While the entertainment industry currently utilizes XR technologies the most, other fields are getting into the XR world. Common areas of business where XR is used are product design & prototyping, education, workforce & project collaboration, trainer & worker guidance and sales & marketing.

There are many possibilities for XR technologies. These technologies can be beneficial in healthcare and surgery, military training, architecture work, art and education. It has also been tested in the rehabilitation and treatment of phobias and anxieties. Possibilities are numerous and more possibilities open as technology and hardware advances.

These links help you to find some of the possibilities in XR and to read more of these technologies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxYhJpLBbN4 Porsche remote AR tech support
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NND7Hk5fYdI U.S. Military training VR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KIa3nNmMAc Treating mental health problems VR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2NnOCLexOE MR in healthcare
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhn00WdjrCY Design Space VR
https://www.visualcapitalist.com/extended-reality-xr/ What is XR?
https://mobidev.biz/blog/augmented-reality-future-trends-2018-2020 AR trends
https://www.vrs.org.uk/ Virtual Reality Society
https://fivr.fi/ Finnish Virtual Reality Society

New Technologies in Teaching

Podcast about Teaching in Virtual Learning Environments
(in finnish)

Anssi Mähönen, Savonia’s expert, presents how today’s teaching can be more effective and enthusiastic by using virtual reality. Students have the opportunity to deepen their theoretical knowledge independently of time and place. Students can also practice beforehand the same processes and use the same tools and equipment used in real working life.

Here the postcast ( in finnish)

Curriculum and Education Development Expert

Sirkka-Liisa Halimaa, project expert
Savonia University of Applied Sciences

·        Bachelor of Biomedical Laboratory Science
·        Master of Health Care, Degree program Teacher of Health Care
·        Licentiate of Health Sciences
·        PhD, Doctor of Health Sciences
·        Master of Degree Program in Management and Development
·        Education in project management

Since 1988, I have been working as a lecturer at Savonia in the degree program in Medical Laboratory Science. The fields of teaching include clinical chemistry and hematology, clinical physiology, neurophysiology and nuclear medicine. I started as a principal lecturer in 1998 and have been in charge of the degree program and partly also responsible for the leading of the diagnostics team.

The subject of my dissertation was the pain of a premature baby. I have published several international and national articles and participated in numerous conferences. I have a long experience in curriculum and education development in the national and international level. In this project, my expertise is particularly the educational development of virtual learning environments.

I have done the curriculum work and  development of education at national level as well as at the National Board of Education and Ministry of Education and Culture. In particular, planning, implementation and development of the satellite training and education model was an important development challenge during 2014 – 2017. This development work continues in the FutureEdu project and takes education to a next level.

Cooperation between education and working life is increasingly important at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences. Effective working life cooperation is also key to the success of this project. In my work, I have developed these contacts for many years. I have been committed to the project since the application stage. I am familiar with the objectives and content of the project. I feel that I have supported project in many different dimensions, and not just in theory, but also by discussing, planning, making and guiding the project forward in collaboration with the project team and project manager.


Specialist in Digital Learning Environments

Jaana Heiskanen, Specialist in Digital Learning Environments
Savo Vocational College 


I’m working at Savo Vocational College (Savo Consortium for Education) as a health care specialist, mainly in projects and in the field of digital learning environments.  

o   Medical –Surgical nurse
o   Bachelor of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland
o   Master of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland
o   Qualified teacher of health sciences (major studies)
o   Qualified leader and manager in social- and health care (minor studies)
o   General legal studies in Open University of Eastern Finland  

Work experience 
o   I have about 20 years of working experience in social and health care.
o   About 13 years of experience as a nurse in surgical wards in Kuopio University Hospital
o   Assistant head nurse in Kuopio University Hospital
o   Head nurse at CSSD’s (Central Sterile Services Department) customer units. I was responsible for recruiting, budgeting, customer collaborating, planning and developing of the practice together with the customers.
o   Teacher at Savo Consortium for Education,  my responsibilities were vocational education and training based on the qualification requirements for Medical Device Decontamination Scientists (Technician) and Practical Nurses education.
o   Clinical Teacher of Nursing in Kuopio University Hospital (KUH). I was responsible for perioperative nursing. My work consisted of guiding students and their practice placements, collaborating with wards, out-patient-units, operating rooms, universities of applied sciences and other organizations. The collaboration consisted of educating, planning, innovating and developing different functions.

International experience
o   Exchange student in Germany, Osnabrück (one semester during nursing studies)
o   Worked as a registered nurse in Norway (home nursing and nursing homes) 

My expertise for the project
In Future Technologies in Education -project, my main responsibility is developing digital and virtual leaning environments especially from the perspective of vocational education, nursing practice  and decontamination process. I work systematically and this is absolutely an advantage, when working in a project. You have to stay focused to the objectives of the project all the time. At the same time, you must pay close attention to the timetable and resources of the project.      

Because of my background, I know many people in the field of social and health care and education, who are  also participating in this project. This is a huge benefit, especially, when you are creating something new. Furthermore, I’m curious to learn new things and to know other countries and cultures.   

Understanding the use of XR applications in Healthcare field

What have we done so far in Future Technologies in Education –project?

A year has gone in understanding and finding out the best technological solution to use that brings added valued to the entire education process of health care professionals.

There is a huge potential for XR applications in healthcare education. During the first year of the project, we found out the best options to the training environment of the clinical laboratory, operating room, and instrument care. At the international level, we have also supported the digitalization strategy of our Bulgarian partner by sharing knowledge and starting the benchmarking of technological solutions used in education at the level of vocational and higher education. The selected technological solutions will be piloted and tested during this spring 2020. These technological solutions will be compared with the current educational solutions and teaching methods. Based on the results from the pilot, the solutions used in education will be further developed and later take as a part of education process and training.

Biomedical laboratory training

In this project, we collaborate with South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote) hospital laboratory in Lappeenranta. Eksote clinical laboratory will be a part of Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) laboratory in 2020.  Eksote laboratory has been collaborator since 2014, when the first satellite education group of Biomedical Laboratory Science was started in collaboration with Savonia-UAS and Eksote.

An important component in the Biomedical Laboratory Science education is to know the laboratory´s working environment including processes, activities and equipment. In addition, the knowledge of the laboratory safety aspects are essential when working in clinical hospital laboratory. For these reasons, a clinical laboratory environment was scanned by Matterport-camera to get 3D models of real hospital laboratory. This 3D- virtual tour was created to enable students and staff to familiarize in advance and in  their own work pace the safety issues e.g. in the laboratories of clinical hematology, clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology and clinical pathology.

In addition, we have planned how VR glasses and interactive videos can be used efficiently in the learning and familiarization process of laboratory equipment e.g. such as the laboratory microscope and Point-of-care (POC)-equipment.

We have also realized the importance to develop virtual material to study the histology process in clinical laboratory. Therefore, we are going to pilot and evaluate the usefulness of VR glasses to study this process.  

In addition, we plan to use AR and smart glasses to provide a live connection between the clinical laboratory and the university classroom. These authentic live connections will enable our students to understand real laboratory work, equipment and processes. Furthermore, this technology could be used for consultation between staff and technical experts e.g. in case of equipment maintenance or service.

In addition, the students of biomedical laboratory science have been part of this development work by helping us to create the content of environments. The students of engineer have been creating VR simulations. In this way, these environments will better serve not only staff but also our students.

Operating rooms and instrument maintenance training

The VR and AR applications in nursing care, especially in perioperative care, are quite many. At the moment, they are mainly designed for surgeons, with only some applications from a nurse’s perspective. During the last autumn, we decided the areas to be developed and technologies to use in the education and training of perioperative nursing. At present, we go further on with the purchase and tendering process of the technologies used in the project.

We are collaborating with our regional partners; the Kuopio University Hospital, KUH, operating theaters and Servica, the instrument maintenance company.

The Finnish project team visited Servica’s Central Sterile Services Department in Kuopio University Hospital in September 2019.  During the interesting and rewarding visit, they showed us the entire surgical instruments maintenance process from the instrument´s cleaning and disinfection to the delivering to clients. At the same time, we discussed about making the 3D – photo shootings with Matterport in the Central Sterile Services Department. In addition we have decided to pilot how to created 3D models of instruments. These 3D models will help e.g. daily work of instrument maintainer.

Together with KUH and operation theater we discussed the detailed co-operation and work plan for perioperative nursing. We have done 3D-photo shootings with Matterport in the operating theater. These 3D- virtual tours enable students and staff to familiarize in advance in their own work pace. In addition, different kind of VR simulations were planned especially from the perspective of nurse anesthetists.

We have wanted to take, not only staff, but also the students into this development work e.g. they will take part in creating the content of both the operating rooms and instrument maintenance. It is important to develop common learning environments that really serve both students and staff.

International collaboration with Bulgarian

The sharing of knowledge, benchmarking and planning of virtual learning environment have been the major activities covering the first year. Joint international meetings, together with Yatrus Foundation and other partners, have been important in the start-up phase and supported the start of project cooperation.  We can together note that the use of XR solutions in Finland is slightly more widespread and thus the need for the training content to harmonize virtual technology activities in the Europe level is essential. Therefore, we also developed a XR training module for professionals to upgrade practical skills in new technologies. This intensive course will be in Kuopio during spring 2020.

During last visit in Bulgaria. We had a great possibility to visit different authorities and meet experts in education in Sofia e.g. we visited in the Business Initiative Union (SSI), the University of National and World Economy (UNWE Sofia), the National Agency for Vocational Education (NAVET) and Ministry of Education and Science (MON). We are an important and interesting partner for Bulgarian authorities. Digitalization of education is essential and big challenge for both of us.

We have strengthened the collaboration with the University of Ruse, Faculty of Public Health and Health Care, to develop a 5 ECTS virtual module for internationalization at home. In this module, Finnish and Bulgarian students can study basic knowledge from both countries and get more information about student exchange. In addition, they can study perioperative nursing, instrument maintenance and biomedical laboratory science in those virtual environments created in this project. This virtual module will be during spring 2020. At the same time, we are negotiating the content of teacher and student exchange agreements. Later these will be sign between partners, which enables student and professionals exchange between countries. First exchanges were planned for autumn 2020.


The last year has been very intensive with meetings, tests and visits to our partners Eksote in Lappeenranta and Ruse in Bulgaria. We are proud of the lessons learnt and the achievements done. We are looking with enthusiasm the year 2020!

More details of the international visits at:

Visit to Ruse, April, 2019: https://sway.office.com/s/aSeOzwyRmt7da1YO/embed
Visit to Kuopio, August 2019: https://sway.office.com/s/E4VwOO5l7xxQKk3z/embed
Visit to Ruse, November, 2019: https://sway.office.com/s/dQ5yZ6rnF8JAL6wY/embed

Editorial  group of the blog:

Petteri Alanko
Communications Manager
Savonia UAS

Marja Silen-Lipponen
Principal Lecturer
Savonia UAS