HYDAC Australia develops VR remote learning

HYDAC International

Monday, 12 October, 2020

HYDAC Australia develops VR remote learning

With businesses and universities facing massive challenges from restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HYDAC Australia is pioneering the use of virtual reality (VR) to enable real-time training activities to continue in an enhanced 3D environment.

During pandemic times, social distancing and lockdown restrictions, we are all, in some ways, trying to find a good way to communicate, educate ourselves and work remotely. Online video conversation tools like Zoom and Skype have had a huge increase in usage in the past few months worldwide. But videoconferencing programs are not the only tools that can be used as a mean of remote communication: some other emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality can bring us together on a whole new level, while still respecting social distancing.

Fluid power company HYDAC Australia has partnered with Deakin Motion Lab to create a virtual training environment that overcomes geographic barriers and coronavirus social distancing requirements. The technology brings together students and trainers from across the country, all interacting in real time in the same virtual space.

The VR technology is said to allow for the first time the possibility for students and trainers to be in different locations and to virtually come together in a bespoke virtual training space. It allows direct interaction with the equipment, real-time instruction, feedback, verification of skills and more.

The topics in the VR training are related to hydraulics, electro-hydraulics, hydro-pneumatic accumulators and thermal optimisation, but the main focus is on workplace safety. Students have their training experience in a totally 3D environment and the training uniquely allows for and simulates hazardous events that would be impossible to demonstrate safely in real life.

They can also perform tasks as they would normally do if they were on the real machine, such as change a hydraulic filter and check the pressure of a hydro-pneumatic accumulator.

When performing these tasks, they have a full assistance of a professional qualified technical trainer. Students also have several resources available that they can access virtually, like videos, technical information and some mechanical tools. The trainer can also simulate faults on the system as a topic of discussion among the students.

The possibility to educate, teach new skills and verify safe working practices, for workers at home or located in different geographical locations, means training can continue and even be improved in this travel- and distance-restricted time.

By preparing workers for new equipment, upskilling and skills refreshing for fly-in/fly-out workers, with the trainer located in one place, each student can access the training from basically anywhere, with everyone meeting together in the same virtual environment. Everyone (students and trainer) can hear and interact with each other in real time. The learning experience and retention of know-how from this training is said to greatly exceed any standard training method, with the experience found to be exciting and memorable.

The same remote capabilities of the training are also welcomed in workplace meetings.

“This is fantastic use of technology to enable businesses and educators to continue their training regimes safely though the current COVID-19 restrictions. But it is also the way of the future,” said Mark Keen, Managing Director, HYDAC Australia.

While the technology currently enables complex practical education in engineering facilities, HYDAC Virtual Training can be designed to create bespoke training experiences that can benefit a wide range of educational institutions, organisations and businesses.

For more information on HYDAC’s Virtual Reality training, email info@hydac.com.au.

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