Is VR any good for anything else than games? Or maybe virtual reality as a technology is still too immature for any serious applications? Nope. Looking at these serious implementations, it’s the beginning of industrial VR revolution.
Virtual Reality as a platform is not a mass market yet, but existing PC and mobile headsets are available for quite anybody. Even if VR won’t dominate our lives any time soon, it enters more and more niches, especially those which value largest immersion.
How VR supports industrial processes?
Decision makers on new technologies in industrial companies are driven by pragmatism. They seek solutions for real-life problems. Virtual reality comes useful for simulating and visualizing:
- hazardous physical conditions
- expensive and difficult to handle equipment
- processes and data that’s not easy to present
Visionaries come up with plenty of ideas and usage scenarios but VR applications that add value to industry are still rare. These are some of them.
VR welding training system from Lincoln Electric
Virtual welding training system include a welding VR helmet, welding machine, welding stand, gun and coupons. It resembles a real welding equipment so the VR experience is also life-like. The training emulates physical conditions and allows working on one’s body position, grip angle and working speed.
Lincoln Electric in collaboration with Iowa State University conducted research on training’s efficiency. Results show significant impact of the training on muscular memory and motoric patterns. Participants achieve better results after shorter certification process.
Siemens Virtual Twin
Siemens researchers developed a gas turbine VR model which gives new quality to hardware maintenance. The visualisation is fed with real-time, AI-processed data from the sensors mounted on a real turbine. System interprets data readouts from the sensors. Then displays them in a digestible form for the user — in this case a temperature of individual parts is shown in colours.
Artificial intelligence algorithm analyzes a full set of data and estimates physical wear and tear of the components. This way Siemens brigns us closer to a vision of the future where diagnostics and maintenance of hi-tech equipment is done remotely.
UPS truck driving safety training
There are over 100 000 UPS branded trucks all over the world so safety training for drivers is an important issue for the UPS. The company’s IT folks have developed a training program for HTC Vive platform in which trainees learn to identify road hazards while driving the truck. They’re supposed to react to visual and sound events that are considered as a hazard and describe them verbally. This VR training is replacing the previous version developed for touchscreen devices.
If you have any questions, you can contact me @mateusztokarski on Twitter.
Mateusz Tokarski is a co-founder and designer at Giant Lazer — virtual and augmented reality software house.