Preliminary results are very encouraging for the “out of this world” benefits of VR training.
-Mark Splittgerber, Head of Product Development / Practon Group Pty
To build a Virtual Reality (VR) training module as part of a simulated space mission that allows crew members to be safely trained in a task outside of their core skill set, whilst simultaneously improving engagement, retention and confidence.
Develop an immersive and realistic VR training module for the Lucy Electric Trident Fused Ring Main Unit (FRMU), the main power feeder for the LunAres simulated lunar habitat.
Crew members were able to safely operate the Trident FRMU in a virtual environment prior to being challenged with a real life and high stress training scenario.
Practon Group Pty Ltd had previously engaged Sentient to develop a VR training platform for the Trident FRMU high voltage switch. It was to be realistic and to scale and allow users to follow real operating procedures in the virtual world.
When Practon Group was asked to contribute to the SPECTRA Mission at LunAres, a simulated Lunar analogue environment in Poland – www.spaceanalogue.com, Sentient were tasked with creating a moon-like immersive environment for the training to take place in and then to place the relevant pre-existing VR training solution into this environment.
Working closely with Practon Group, Sentient initially built a step-by-step simulation of the high-risk switching process and later placed it within the lunar environment. This enabled mission participants to safely practice isolating the high voltage switch and perform maintenance task as required. Becoming fully immersed in the VR world, end users could experience interacting with the Trident FRMU as they would in real life.
By using gaming technology, Sentient is able to create environments that are true to form using engineering or other models. In this particular instance, the Sentient crew were also able to have a bit of fun, simulating the Lunar environment with moon-like gravity and lighting.
TESTING THE LIMITS
In the isolation of space, VR is a powerful training tool to provide “just in time training” of complex and high-risk task on critical assets. The VR module was custom built to be tested in the controlled environment of the LunAres lunar analogue habitat.
In this simulation, two teams where tasked with learning the various procedures of the Trident FRMU. Both were provided a traditional training presentation and review of the operation manual to provide a baseline of knowledge. Then one team was provided with additional practical training via the VR module.
Although results from this training exercise are yet to be released, the trainees provided with the VR training reported feeling “more confident” and “better prepared” after being provided this kinematic learning experience.
There have been many independent studies on the value of VR training against traditional methods. For example, a study by the University of Maryland found participants trained using VR demonstrating a 8.8% increase in information recall.