ForgeFX VR training simulators at #Siggraph2016. Yup, virtual reality job simulators. Huh, why does a company need that? Well, that’s pretty much what I said when I came across their booth.
Why ForgeFX VR or 3D simulators?
According to technical director Adam Kane,”There has been an increased interest in technical training simulators. Companies are willing to develop simulated job training scenarios, instead of letting an employee loose with expensive equipment causing potentially expensive damages”. Such as in the case of the plane DE-icing simulator featured at the show. One wrong move by a trainee could result in the write off a multi-million dollar aircraft. Their system allows an employee to become familiar with the equipment for the job at hand, and a nominal cost versus real-world wear & tear or costly mistakes. He emphasized this point few times.
I tried the simulator on display, clearing ice off a jetliner. A serious job with serious consequences if the operator is ill-trained. If you’re curious to know more about this line of work, check out Wikipedia here. Considering that a 20-year-old, used 727 still commands a couple of million dollar price tag, damaging a newer one could be financially fatal for a company.
I placed the VR headset on and grabbed the controls. They felt familiar in my hands as I’ve operated heavy equipment. A couple of words of what the controls do from Adam Kane and I was spraying away. A simulated solution of de-icer on a virtual jet at a virtual airport. The controls felt sluggish and slow to respond. Not like anything you would experience in a computer “game”. I questioned Adam about this. He indicated that initially, the response to inputs was too fast. They actually had to rewrite the code to match the input lag of a real machine. This made sense to me. Cold hydraulic fluid has more viscosity and does pump through machine valves slower. I didn’t realize how far ForgeFx actually went to ensure, a truly simulated experience.
VR is on the cutting edge right now. Many applications, games, and simulators are coming to market. It only makes sense for an offering like this to come about. ForgeFX is more than a one-trick pony. From product demos to tablet software, they offer a wide variety of products. Be sure to check out the video on their web page here. I was impressed and love to see VR being offered in a wide range of applications. Pretty geeky stuff if you ask me.