Apprenticeship training is at the heart of government skills policy worldwide. Application of cutting edge Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can enhance the quality of construction training, and help in attracting youth to an industry that traditionally has a poor image and slow in up-taking innovation. We report on the development of a novel Mixed Reality (MR) system uniquely targeted for the training of construction trade workers, i.e. skilled manual workers. From a general training viewpoint, the system aims to address the shortcomings of existing construction trades training, in particular the lack of solutions for enabling trainees to train in realistic and challenging site conditions whilst eliminating Occupational Health and Safety risks. From a technical viewpoint, the system currently integrates state of the art Virtual Reality (VR) goggles with a novel cost-effective 6 degree-of-freedom (DOF) head pose tracking system supporting the movement of trainees in room-size spaces, as well as a game engine to effectively manage the generation of the views of the virtual 3D environment projected on the VR goggles. Experimental results demonstrate the performance of our 6-DOF head pose tracking system, which is the main computational contribution of the work presented here. Then, preliminary results reveal its value to enable trainees to experience construction site conditions, particularly being at height, in different settings. Details are provided regarding future work to extend the system into the envisioned full MR system whereby a trainee would be performing an actual task, e.g. bricklaying, whilst being immersed in a virtual project environment.
|Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering
|Early online date
|5 Mar 2015
|Published - Mar 2016