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T01: XR Frontier: Exploring the Future of Cognitive Support and Training with Extended Reality

Saturday, 29 June 2024, 08:30 - 12:30 EDT (Washington DC)
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Ryan Ebnali (short bio)

Research Scientist and Faculty of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, USA




This tutorial offers an immersive exploration into Extended Reality (XR) technologies, emphasizing their role in cognitive support and training across various domains. It aims to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of XR fundamentals, current technologies, and practical applications.


  1. Foundation of Extended Reality Technology:
    • Overview of XR: Definitions and evolution.
    • Current landscape and future trends in XR.
  2. Current Technologies in XR:
    • Software:
      • Overview of leading XR software platforms and development tools.
      • Discussion on software capabilities, user interfaces, and content creation for XR.
    • Hardware:
      • Exploration of the latest XR hardware, including VR headsets, AR glasses, and haptic feedback devices.
      • Considerations for hardware selection in different XR applications.
  3. Applications of Extended Reality:
    • Cognitive Support: Enhancing cognitive abilities through XR.
    • Training and Simulation Systems: XR's role in creating realistic training environments.
  4. Use Cases (Instructor’s previous and ongoing projects):
    • Emergency Medicine and Trauma Management: XR applications in rapid response scenarios (funded by Mass General Brigham).
    • NASA: XR's role in astronaut support during long duration space missions (funded by NASA).
    • Military Medical Crews: Utilizing XR for military medical training and field operations (funded by DoD).
    • Transportation: XR in transportation for safety and operational training (funded by DoT).
  5. Wrap-Up and Q&A:
    • Recap of key insights.
    • Interactive Q&A session for further discussion.



  • Understanding of XR Foundations: Participants will gain insights into the foundational elements of Extended Reality, including an overview of its software and hardware components.
  • Practical XR Applications: The tutorial will offer hands-on demonstrations and discussions of XR applications in medicine, space, and military, providing practical insights and actionable knowledge.
  • Workflow of XR Implementation: Attendees will learn about the workflow involved in XR implementation, covering stages from conceptualization and design to development and validation.
  • Networking Opportunities: The event will facilitate networking with experts in the field of Extended Reality, offering opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange.


Target Audience:

  • Researchers and Academics: Individuals in fields such as cognitive science, psychology, human-computer interaction, and computer science who are exploring or interested in the applications of Extended Reality.
  • Technology Professionals: Developers, engineers, and technologists who are working with or seeking to work with XR technologies, including software developers, hardware engineers, and UX/UI designers in the XR space.
  • Healthcare Professionals: Medical practitioners, surgeons, and healthcare educators interested in how XR can be applied in medical training, surgery, emergency medicine, and trauma management.
  • Military and Aerospace Personnel: Professionals in the military and aerospace sectors, including trainers and operational planners, who are looking to understand the application of XR in training simulations and operational support.
  • Safety Experts: Professionals in the transportation sector and those involved in safety training and management who are interested in the application of XR for training and operational efficiency.
  • Educators and Trainers: Individuals in the field of education and training who are seeking innovative methods to enhance cognitive learning and training through XR technologies.


List of materials or devices required by the participants:

For virtual audience, reliable internet connection and a computer with webcam and microphone

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

Dr. Ebnali Harari is a Research Scientist and faculty member at the Department of Emergency Medicine, Mass General Brigham, and Harvard Medical School. With a background in Cognitive Systems Engineering and Computer Sciences, Dr. Ebnali has skillsets in tackling scientific problems within a variety of large-scale and federally funded research projects funded by NSF, NASA, DoT, DoD, and NIH. Dr. Harari leverages his expertise in cognitive engineering, AR/VR development, machine learning, and sensing technologies to augment clinical capabilities and care quality in complex individual and team-based activities. For more information, please check the following link: