Education and training of ergonomics in health and safety.
Background and Project Content
Using portable motion sensors like the AUVA system Captiv or the HTC Vive Tracker together with head-mounted displays (glasses that project images directly in front of the eyes have proven to be) makes it possible to develop immersive and interactive Virtual Reality (VR) applications. Such applications prove to be beneficial in consultation sessions on topics such as occupational safety or healthy work. They help to make dangers, safety and health risks, incorrect postures in everyday work, etc., easier to see, to grasp, and more tangible. Typical work situations can be recreated and working procedures can be trained and optimized in the virtual environments (e.g., maintaining balance during overhead work).
In the preceding project VeRgonomiX, we already experimented with various Virtual Reality scenarios. We found that the integration of real objects into the virtual environment was of vital importance to reach the project aims. For this reason, we added haptic objects (can be touched, grabbed, lifted, and carried with hands) to the VR training in VeRgonomiX II. Additionally, we designed the scenarios to be adaptive to various working environments. In the third part of the project, we make on-site VR training for safety and health protection accessible to wide a group of people.
In VeRgonomiX III, we aim to enable a broad audience to participate in Virtual Reality (VR) training on safety and health protection topics. To achieve this, we are creating virtual training spaces and exploring extensive ways to integrate them into the virtual training sessions.
VeRgonomiX III is developing a VR environment that enables ergonomics trainings to be conducted on-site in companies. The goal is to reach a large number of employees, including those with limited time, those with limited proficiency in German, and those who are not very tech-savvy. To achieve this and maintain high interest and motivation for the training, VeRgonomiX III draws inspiration from gaming (Gamification), such as question and guessing games (quiz), and incorporates interactive elements (e.g., movement courses). Thus, the training content is delivered in an entertaining and engaging manner.
In the VeRgonomiX projects, we combine body-worn motion sensors with head-mounted displays (HMDs) enabling us to simulate typical workplace situations in immersive and interactive VR environments. This makes it possible to practice motion sequences such as manual lifting, holding and carrying loads, or maintaining balance during overhead work. In the present VeRgonomiX III project, our focus is on setting-up virtual training programmes that are accessible to the widest possible audience. In all three project phases, VeRgonomiX makes use of contemporary technology possibilities for a new application area. As a result of this, they also contribute to improvements in daily work, health preservation, and accident prevention.