Following successful demonstrations of the RiVR Virtual Reality platform at the UK Emergency Services Show in September, BBC Click requested RiVR to be featured in a ‘special programme’ highlighting the way in which innovation is changing the landscape and opportunities within the blue light services and in particular Fire and Rescue.
During the last three weeks BBC Click have attended two specific locations where the RiVR innovation team have been working alongside industry professionals experiencing RiVR photo realistic interactive virtual reality training scenarios. These were specifically created with predetermined training and development outcomes.
The first location visit was to the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters where Kat Hawkins and Omar Mehtab experienced RiVR realism for the first time. Also present was Andrew Quine, Leicestershire’s lead fire Investigator and Paul Speight who has been appointed VR lead for the UK. They had the opportunity to ‘walk’ the two reporters through the scenario, which was just a small example of a larger suite of scenes available via the RiVR platform. They investigated a photo-realistic fire damaged room, picking up and examining any one of a hundred and eighteen interactive objects. These could be photographed and transported to a virtual laboratory for further examination. Potential sources of fire were discussed and then they were able to be immersed in a 360 degree video of the actual fire enabling them to understand if they had identified the true cause.
The second location visited was the Department of Science and technology Laboratory, in St Alban’s, where our reporters were hosted by Mike Ferguson. Mike has been exploring new ways of training ‘first responders’, and has collaborated with RiVR to create a virtual reality crime scene. In one of the scenes the reporters experienced being first on the scene of a brutal murder and were able to interact with objects, as well as checking pulses on bodies that they found. The object of this asset is to determine the appropriate behaviours and actions of individuals in a stressful environment.
The RiVR scenes and monitoring of outcomes are made possible as the scenes are created using photogrammetry and ‘managed’ by the RiVR platform which processes the VRM (virtual reality monitor). This allows a trainer to observe the candidate in the scene remotely or on a local monitor. Everything is recorded from a first person, third person and birds eye view, giving a comprehensive record of the entire training session.
The speed of development in VR is unprecedented and RiVR believes that collaboration is not only desirable but necessary to meet the needs of clients and to advance technology to end users that benefit the way in which humans learn, to this end RiVR is delighted to have valuable relationships with Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Leica geosystems, Pico and 4dmax.
Although VR can be applied to most learning situations, it is most commonly used for the following reasons:
● Safety (in environments where it would be dangerous for those experiencing it).
● Replicability (to allow multiple participants to experience the same environment).
● Learning (to make mistakes in an environment where critical errors are less impactful).
● Rarity (where environments are experienced rarely enough to require ongoing development).
● Cost effective (Often cheaper as only has to be created once but has multi usage)
VR, as part of a blended learning package, allows students to immerse in the world of experience and heightens their sensitivity to the world. It guides the students so that they can draw meaning from their first-hand experiences and elevate their level of thinking. There is no replacement for true experiential learning, but RiVR now provides a solution to start to fill in the gap between the classroom and real life.