Outside of the rush of gaming entertainment and experiences, the development of virtual reality technology shows promise for increasing safety and efficiency for commercial industries. Imagine having the ability rehearse extremely dangerous situation without any risk. Imagine designing buildings and walking through them… before they’re built.
Virtual Reality is predicted to explode through 2016 with countless new uses and adaptions. Companies such as Microsoft are constantly exploring new ways to fully utilize it.
The immersive reality creates an illusion of presence and enables users to see, hear and interact with the environment. Emerging headsets, interactive hand controllers and movement sensors will revolutionize the entire construction process.
While virtual reality technologies are still in the works, 2016 is the year for vast improvement. Designers, contractors and contractors will be able to make better decisions, earlier on in the design process. Experts predict it will become as common in construction as hammers and nails.
The Dangerous World of Construction
The construction industry is known for having high inefficiency and low profit margins. Invisible dangers such as electricity and maneuvering hazardous materials lead to extensive industries within high-risk project sites. However, over half of deaths and injuries result from human error, which can only be eradicated through improved training programs.
According to recent OSHA studies, one in five worker deaths happen in construction. Approximately 40 percent of those deaths happened from falls, followed by electrocutions (8.2%), struck by objects (8.1%) and caught in-betweens (4.3%). These are known as the “Fatal Four” in construction. Several other statistics injury statistics are shocking:
- The most-violated OSHA standard is fall protection.
- One in ten construction workers are injured each year.
- Within a 45-year career, each laborer has a 1-in-200 chance of dying on the job and a 75 percent change of experiencing a disabling injury.
- Exposure accounts for 15.7 percent of all construction injuries.
Working in construction is deadly. Most of the Over half of the occupational incidents result from human error, and 60 percent occur within the first year. Safety can be improved and human error largely eradicated with safe rehearsal, trial and error.
Virtual Reality for Safety Training
Within the industry, the immersive reality presents impressive potential for significant safety training improvement. Field workers have the opportunity to practice complex and risky operations without threat of destruction. Virtual reality can facilitate faster, safer and cheaper construction projects.
Similar to computer gaming, the sophisticated software recreates environments with multiple theatre modes, which can be used for training scenarios. There are 180-degree iDomes for individual training and 360-degree modes for group scenarios. Some developing training designs include modules for safety & hazard lectures, hazard identification games and student assessment evaluations.
The immersive advanced visualization and interactive environments, which allow movement through space, are key components for utilizing virtual reality. Construction learning programs can be designed to help trainees recognize complex situations while building knowledge and skills of correct procedures. Virtual reality allows object manipulation, engagement with artificial intelligence along with perceptual and behavioral assessments, all within the safe and forgiving alternate reality.
With advancing virtual reality designs, the gap between safety status and safety expectations can be narrowed. With effective rehearsals of dangerous scenarios, electrical hazard cognition and intervention can be safely developed. Training barriers can be removed as further safety and structural skills are achieved.