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Envision Center VR app teaches construction workers not to fall

  • Science Highlights

ITaP’s Envision Center has publicly released a virtual reality application designed to teach construction workers how to avoid falls, as well as the application’s underlying source code.

The application, developed in collaboration with James Jenkins, an associate professor of construction management technology, was funded entirely by a $75,000 grant from the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, grant number SH-31215-SH7, of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) agency of the US Department of Labor. None of the project was financed through non-governmental sources.

By immersing trainees in a virtual reality environment and letting them practice safety procedures themselves, the idea is that the simulator can be more effective than having trainees read about safety rules in a manual or even watch them discussed in a video or presentation. The application and source code have been published here on the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR), an online data-sharing platform for Purdue researchers and their collaborators under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

The application is compatible with Windows and the HTC VIVE, a virtual reality headset with wireless hand controls that lets a user completely immerse themselves in a virtual environment. The app is an executable file and will run without any programming. Those who are interested in modifying or using pieces of the application – for example, a 3-D model of a safety harness or a traffic cone – can download the complete source code.

Eventually, the Envision Center hopes to publish source code for all of its public projects. “It’s been one of our goals for a while now,” says George Takahashi, the center’s technical director. “A lot of the content we produce could be open-sourced. We want to get it out there for others to use.” For more information about working with the Envision Center or questions about the construction safety application, contact Takahashi, or Laura Theademan, the center’s program manager,

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