Virtual Reality: an artificial world of images and sounds created by a computer
Let’s imagine ourselves in this scenario; our first offshore survival training course is less than a week away. We don’t really know what will happen when we’re on course but we have heard a few anecdotes from friends as well as bits and pieces from dubious online sources like The Rig Worker’s Rant.
Here’s what we do know; we will be strapped into a helicopter underwater escape trainer (HUET) and we will be fully submerged and flipped upside down. We don’t like swimming at the best of times and quite frankly, the thought of being trapped underwater fills us with horror.
Questions are running amok inside our brains. What if the seatbelt sticks? What if we can’t get the window open? What if someone blocks our exit? Will there be waves? Will it be dark? What if we don’t make it out at all?
When we arrive at the training centre there’s sweat trickling down our backs and our hands are shaking. Panic is really starting to set in. It’s hard getting into our survival suits because we’re all fingers and thumbs. Finally we’re on poolside and it’s our turn to shine. And we FREEZE!
The above scenario may have been created in our imagination, but it is the reality for many individuals who walk through the door of the RelyOn Nutec training centre in Dyce. Our aim is to get all our delegates successfully through the training and to send them away as confident individuals. This process is at risk, when dealing with a fearful delegate.
Taking a lead from exposure therapy, which aims to reduce the power that fear holds over a person by safely and repeatedly exposing that individual to the situation, we have introduced Virtual Reality to our training offering.
Using 360° technology we filmed our instructors carrying out the HUET training and we uploaded it to our virtual reality goggles to produce an immersive simulation capable of transporting delegates into our underwater world.
At RelyOn Nutec, delegates who are exhibiting signs of stress prior to the HUET element of their survival training are offered the opportunity to immerse themselves in our virtual experience. Repeated exposure to the VR scenario allows delegates to retrain their brains, and let go of the fear.
Our instructors are able to demonstrate improvements following the use of the VR goggles proving that this type of simulated technology can play an important role in our training offering. It’s our job to adequately prepare delegates for the dangers that they may face offshore and virtual reality can help us do this in a more effective way whilst reducing undue stress upon delegates.
Our VR experience is currently limited to the HUET element of survival training currently, but we hope to roll this technology out to other courses in the future. As a company we’re committed to adding value to our training experience and are increasingly turning to new