Conventional on-the-job training sessions can be overhauled, and 'real life' workplace situations modelled using immersive technologies, thanks to new research by QUT's leading specialist programmers and digital designers.
Mining, construction, and health employees operate in environments that present risks to personal safety but provide the testing grounds for new technologies to better support workers.
QUT’s Visualisation and eResearch (ViseR lab) is creating the technological tools necessary for workers to safely transition to new practices, equipment, and processes.
Manager Gavin Winter said multiple projects were in development with the latest unveiled at the Resources Centre of Excellence in Mackay.
“The Centre has an underground mine simulator that’s incredibly realistic. Built like a movie set, the simulator replicates underground conditions,” he said.
“This enables organisations to train staff, simulate all kinds of scenarios, and test new equipment, processes, and technologies.
“QUT is working to run research and development programs focused on virtual and augmented reality which complement the simulator and in-house training capabilities.”
QUT research has produced software and hardware setups that enable instructors and learners to be immersed in a real-time, multi-user collaborative scene to complete induction processes or other specialist training, practice emergency responses, as well as modules for micro-credentialing.
“An employee and an instructor can walk through true-to-life scenarios together to refine safety practices,” Mr Winter said.
“QUT will evaluate the effectiveness of these experiences in teaching and learning and their application for technical and safety training.”
Mr Winter said this multi-user approach to VR technology was rarely used in these industries.
“Of course, it’s not new in online games, and now that VR software and hardware reaching a standard ready for the enterprise, it’s the time to bring the tools and methods from game programming into industry applications,” he said.
He said there was scope to use the technology with the agricultural sector, most immediately in the cane industry and across initiatives of QUT’s biorefinery, also based in Mackay.
The team is complementing the research by applying expertise in technology architecture, integrated system design, implementation, and sustainable operation of XR environments.
“There is opportunity to design cost-effective systems that focus on efficiency, accuracy and streamlined workflows which reduces requirements for expensive software development which is much less sustainable for organisations,” Mr Winter said.
The ViseR group was established to support research and development in visualisation, interaction, and innovation of digital environments across universities, government, and industry.
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