Niagara University has taken another step in ensuring the safety of students, faculty, and staff when they return to campus for the fall semester. The university has launched the NUAR network, which uses augmented reality to provide real-time physical distancing information through a unique smartphone app.

The app, AReveryware, enables students, faculty, staff, and others to scan signage to view videos that provide key safety instructions at strategic locations, including elevators, hallways, stairs, cafeterias, kitchens, and other common areas. The videos can be accessed where and when people need the information most and updated as necessary. Niagara University is the first institute of higher education to use this technology, which was developed by Twisted Rope, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based digital development agency, in this way.

“Social distancing will be a primary strategy in ensuring the safety of all who come to the Niagara University campus post COVID-19,” said the Rev. James Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “Our NUAR network will enable us to provide guidance on entrances and exits for our students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community. We are especially delighted to support a local business in this endeavor.”

In addition to the AReveryware app, Niagara University has implemented a number of safety initiatives to protect students and employees as they return to campus, including the use of virus-blocking pillows in the residence halls, the availability of PPE and testing, modifications to social and educational programming to reduce capacity and encourage social distancing, and enhancement of the extent and frequency of cleaning.