Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Trojan Horse of Safety




Was chatting with a colleague and she mentioned the importance of safety in construction.  I couldn't agree more.  Safety in construction is a Trojan Horse that can be ridden into any conference room in the country.  And the Oculus Rift is just the device to wear while doing so.

The article excerpted and linked below describes the remarkable rise of Oculus Rift as the new generation virtual reality (VR) device.  Developed with an eye on the gaming industry, I see amazing potential for the device in the built industry, especially in the arena of safety.

Teleconferencing is another idea in the works. It’s easy to imagine strapping on a Rift and finding yourself across a table from someone who is actually thousands of miles away (or at least you’ll be across from their avatar). Oculus has VR Chat proto­types in the works, and a demo that Epic Games unveiled in March allows two players wearing Rifts to interact with each other’s avatars in the same virtual living room. “The key,” Abrash says, “is generating the cues that tell us we’re in a real place in the presence of another person: eye motion, facial expressions, body language, voice, gestures. Getting all that working perfectly is a huge task, but getting it to be good enough to be widely useful may be quite doable.” 
The list of potential uses goes on. Bring a classroom full of kids inside any museum in the world—no lines, no price of admission. Hell, that goes for vacations too. Even getaways of the mental variety: Why spring for a shaman-guided ayahuasca trip in Peru when you can dive into a drug-free epiphany anytime you want? And let’s not even talk about the oft-predicted sex simulators. “Hardware, while essential, is just an enabler,” Abrash says. “In the end, the future of VR lies in the unique, compelling experiences that get created in software, and if I knew what those would be, even in broad outline, I would be very happy. Right now we don’t even know what kind of artwork and rendering techniques work in VR, much less what experiences.”
Mining, oil & gas and commercial construction all leap to mind as prime areas in which a VR device could be deployed with great success in construction.  I wrote about the Oculus Rift when if first emerged on the technology stage - and long before the vultures as Facebook snapped it up - and I continue to believe these VR devices can add real value, especially with respect to training and safety, in the built industry.

We should keep an eye on this stuff.


James


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James L. Salmon, Esq.
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2 comments:

Grace Watson said...

The world of technology just keeps racing ahead, doesn't it? I've never heard of this Oculus Rift, but it looks like it could both be very useful, efficient, and move us forward by leaps and bounds AND be potentially dangerous. I'd be interested to see what the arguments against the Oculus Rift are.

Grace Watson | http://www.astpl.com

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