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Virtual training increases safety in industry

Training new staff in industry can involve both risks, downtime and inefficiency. With the help of virtual training programs and cleverly animated hands you can exclude a large part of the training on the factory floor. Together with the gaming company Gleechi, RISE has developed a virtual training environment for industrial workers, which increases safety and reduces the risk of accidents and downtime.

Training new workers in heavy industries is expensive, and can also be risky, lead to production stoppages and be ineffective in terms of time. Often large amounts of knowledge need to be transferred. In the paper industry, for example, accidents, error handling and production stoppages are a problem when paper rollers are to be replaced, and hands are particularly vulnerable.

Technology from the gaming industry

In the Handcode project, RISE and the company Gleechi, which has extensive experience of software for the gaming industry, have collaborated to create a first-class virtual training environment. A kind of flight simulator, but for industrial workers. 

The technology has been developed with the help of Gleechi’s “Virtual grasp” technology, a way to animate hands so that they move and interact freely and realistically – unlike the rigid movements that virtual hands previously often exhibited. 

“Gleechi’s special ability is their way of writing software that makes the hands look lifelike, when a hand, for example, grabs a mug in a game. We found a way to combine the techniques we use for educational games, with their movement model for hand movements,” says Stig Larsson at RISE.

Several advantages

The result was a simulator for factory workers, where, for example, an operator can train to manoeuvre the machines they are going to work on, as if they were doing it on the factory floor. But without wasting neither time nor money. In addition, training in a virtual environment is far safer than in a live situation. 

Using this technology, operators can in the future assimilate all experiences without exposing themselves or the workplace to mistakes that may be risky. The tool allows you to test, fail and test again until the knowledge has been grasped.

“You get appropriate training in how the machine works, but in virtual reality form,” concludes Stig Larsson. 

Interaction important for learning

Learning through interaction has been shown to improve the effect of training, and through virtual training, many risks can be avoided, at the same time as errors made after training are minimised. 

“Both research and user cases have shown the positive effect of virtual reality for educational purposes while the hardware has finally become available on a broad front,” says Jakob Johansson at Gleechi. 

Thanks to the construction of a standard platform, the technology has the possibility to develop. Companies of different sizes should be able to use VR-based training, which should be easy to implement – so that more can get a safer working environment with less production downtime.  

Contributes to national targets

Furthermore, Sweden has the goal of being the best in the world at using the opportunities provided by digitalisation. The Handcode project leads to more opportunities to use VR in industrial applications. 

“This project is right in time and we have shown that we have the capacity to seize this new technology and solve industry’s skills challenges in a scalable way,” says Jakob Johansson.