HTP resident successfully creates VR training simulators for the domestic industrial sector
Today, virtual reality technologies, although hesitantly, are increasingly coming into our lives. According to world experts, the realisation of their potential is still at an early stage, and developers are only discovering the trends of the future. At the same time, we can already say that marketing and education form the most popular areas for the use of VR technologies. A Belarusian company, a resident of the Hi-Tech Park, which successfully creates VR projects for domestic companies in the real sector, is engaged in two of these areas at once.
In-depth learning process
Convey information, educate and impress. It is with these priorities that the Mind Games company, a resident of the Hi-Tech Park, has been approaching the implementation of its projects for more than five years. Developers are creating virtual reality training systems that make it possible to train specialists for many industries in our country, including mechanical engineering, the oil refining complex, and agriculture. Technical Director Aleksandr Verbol does not hide the fact that the company today has collected some of the most advanced competencies for the development of such systems, “We are very proficient in virtual, projection and augmented reality technologies, and also have the necessary skill-sets in microelectronics and instrument making. In addition to software, we can create almost any mechanism necessary for virtual immersion in the learning process. This allows us to develop effective training systems for training professional personnel.”
Speaking about clients, Aleksandr Verbol explained that, for example, the Industry Ministry has training centres within its subordinate enterprises, for which virtual simulators are created.
Aleksandr Verbol noted that VR simulators are currently the most advanced technology for training, which provides full immersion in production conditions, “We try to make the learning process itself as close to reality as possible. The designer qualitatively recreates a three-dimensional model of the car and the necessary conditions; through virtual glasses you are immersed in the process. In addition to this, we also offer the development of hardware, in particular weight and size mock-ups of real instruments or control panels. Or we can modulate various weather conditions — rain, wind — in a limited space. This allows you to use different human senses: vision, hearing, touch, spatial sensations.”
In virtual reality we try to simulate everything down to the centimetre, which helps develop muscle and spatial memory. To achieve this, we co-operate with the design departments of manufacturers.
According to the interlocutor, the developers adhere to very high standards of realism. However, the main emphasis is on methodology. To do this, when creating a simulator, it is necessary to immerse in all the specific moments of the work of the specific specialist for whom the project is being done. Therefore, at all stages, real experts are involved to test the simulators.
What is the main advantage of such developments for customers? VR simulators can significantly reduce resource costs for training personnel by placing the entire process in virtual reality.
“A very illustrative example: starting and shutting down a BelAZ weighing 80 tonnes costs a lot. In the cabin simulator you can practice this as many times as you like without huge expenses. But after training, a person really understands what needs to be done on the machine: the necessary skills are developed. In addition, you can work immersion in a dangerous environment without consequences: in the process of work there are moments where other people may suffer due to a lack of specialist skills. This applies to many industries with a high hazard class. For example, energy, mining, chemical industry,” Technical Director noted.
From museums to stands
In addition to virtual training systems, the company also pays a lot of attention to the development of interactive projects. Separately, Aleksandr Verbol highlighted the museum of the Khatyn Memorial Complex, where the developers were busy filling it with interactive and visual materials.
The Educational Centre for Life Safety of the Emergencies Ministry also deserves special attention, Director shared, “We have been implementing the Emergencies Ministry programme to create children’s training centres for five years. We have already completed work on projects of a national scale. For example, the centre on Olesheva Street in Minsk allows schoolchildren, during an excursion, to interactively receive information on how to behave in case of danger. At the same time, practical life-saving skills are developed. For example, there is a room with smoke and light and sound effects, from which you need to get out.”
Developers are also involved in the creation of marketing projects: they help domestic manufacturers in the real sector adequately present their products. Thus, during the recent INNOPROM exhibition in Yekaterinburg, the company created a virtual reality stand for one of the machine-building holdings, showing the features of the operation and design of equipment.
Perspectives on the outer circuit
Speaking about the development of the company, Aleksandr Verbol emphasised that the conditions provided by the Hi-Tech Park are quite favourable, “HTP also helps us with advice on legal aspects.”
He also noted that developers are now implementing projects mainly for the domestic market, but there is already demand on the outer circuit, “There are a lot of requests now from the Russian and Kazakhstan markets. We plan to expand in the future, because we have gained unique experience in creating a complex product, for which demand is increasing every year.”