Technical and industrial VR applications improve safety
Although many tend to focus on gaming and entertainment when thinking about VR technologies, virtual reality is proving transformative in technical and industrial applications, too. Three recent announcements illustrate how VR can directly improve safety:
In October, the US Department of Education announced the winner of their EdSim Challenge, which saw 249 immersive simulation submissions vie for a grand prize of $430,000 in cash and prizes from IBM and Microsoft.
Osso VR won this year’s competition with a surgical training system that allows new surgical techniques to be practiced on virtual patients. Michael E. Wooten, a deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of Education, lauded the technology, stating: “Osso VR’s immersive environment will enhance the career and technical education students are receiving along their career pathways in the healthcare field.”
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.
While medical training in a virtual environment has obvious advantages, industrial safety can also benefit from VR. An announcement by Japan-based shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. clearly demonstrates this.
Last week, the company unveiled a mariner safety education goggle, which uses VR technology created by Tsumiki Seisaku Co., Ltd. The system reproduces a range of dangerous scenarios.
It is also portable, making it ideal for training in many environments. While it currently targets eliminating accidental falls, other training targets are in the works. According to the company, “the tool will increase seafarers’ safety awareness and contribute to the elimination of onboard industrial accidents.”
Virtual prototyping firm OPTIS unveiled last week how they are using VR technologies to improve traffic safety: the latest version of their VRX 2018 driving simulator is being used to model vehicle lighting systems. This allows lighting developers to avoid using expensive (and sometimes dangerous) test tracks while finalizing their products. Critically, the virtual environment allows engineers to reproduce real-world traffic conditions such as weather, other vehicles, and pedestrians.
“Testing lighting systems virtually and adding control logic features results in a safer end product,” explained Nicolas Orand, Product Development Director at OPTIS. “[This] builds on a brand’s reputation for safety and high quality, as well as significantly reducing time to market.” (source)