A method using augmented reality to create accurate visual representations of ionizing radiation, developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been licensed by Teletrix, a firm that creates advanced simulation tools to train the nation’s radiation control workforce.

Ionizing radiation — which is linked to cancer and other health problems — has enough energy to knock electrons off atoms or molecules, creating ions. Occupational exposure is a common occurrence for many radiological workers, so any method of decreasing exposure helps to limit overall negative effects and increase worker safety.

“In the 1940s, ORNL made pioneering contributions across numerous scientific fields, including radiation protection,” said Susan Hubbard, ORNL deputy for science and technology. “In our 80th year as an institution, we continue to provide leadership in this area. This technology will allow radiological workers to better understand the environments they work in, enabling a safer and more informed workforce.”

At ORNL, the licensed methods were originally used to create the virtual interaction with physics-enhanced reality, or VIPER, application. Using simulated radiation data implemented in a gaming platform, the technology divides a physical space into cubes, each representing a volumetric value of ionizing radiation by dose. A 3D interpolation of these values is then used to create an image of gradient contours that are overlaid on a real-world view through an augmented reality, or AR, headset. As a trainee moves through the space, navigating around the contours, the device calculates real-tim