Envision Center VR app teaches construction workers not to fall
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or Laura Theademan, the center’s program manager, email@example.com.