SapientNitro has developed an augmented reality (AR) app to show smokers the damage the habit is doing to their lungs and provide them with additional impetus to quit.

The anti-smoking application, AR Lungs, employs a computer webcam or smartphone camera to superimpose medically correct digital lungs over the user’s image. By using on-screen sliders, the user can input the number of years they have smoked and the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

A non-smoker would see healthy, pink lungs while someone who has smoked 15 cigarettes a day for 17 years would see a visual representation of the damage and discoloration their smoking has caused. SapientNitro consulted medical experts to establish and depict the degree of visual lung damage.

AR Lungs featured in the Channel 4 series Embarrassing Bodies: Teen Special on Monday, July 11 (Series 4, Episode 16) which is available on 4oD until August 10:

SapientNitro developed AR Lungs after consulting with healthcare professionals and smokers themselves. Traditional anti-smoking media messages have relied on the viewer making the conscious leap between an image of another smoker or smoker’s lungs and the damage they are doing to themselves. AR Lungs harnesses readily available technology to put the user at the centre of an interactive AR experience and makes the anti-smoking message personal and impactful.

AR Lungs builds on work created by SapientNitro for NHS Blood and Transplant on their electronic organ offering system (EOS) which is used to manage the organ offering process in hospitals across the UK and underlines SapientNitro’s commitment to use AR in practical ways to benefit society and consumers.

Bradley Gamage, Director at SapientNitro, says: “The immaturity of the technology has so far restricted AR to the ‘fun’ space. AR Lungs demonstrates the potential for AR to help raise disease awareness. With exciting breakthroughs, such as AR Lungs, we can expect AR to aid doctors in diagnosis and even to help during surgical procedures in the near future.”

Using AR Lungs
To see this application in action, you will need a computer with a webcam. First, download and print the AR ‘tag’ - Next, click on and hold the tag in front of your chest facing the camera to make the lungs appear. You can fix the lungs by selecting the tick-box “Fix Lung Position on Screen?” By altering the sliders accordingly you will see a visual representation of likely damage sustained through smoking.

Published on: 5:05PM on 26th July 2011