As a bit of a thought experiment, I’m taking a look at an industry and imagine a VR app might reshaping it.
Given my family’s always been in the construction industry (flooring), I thought it might be interesting to look into a segment of that market; medium to large scale commercial building construction.
To that end here’s a concept for an application that would help a site foreman and workers during a construction project to visualise the job to be done.
Statement of purpose
Create a virtual version of a construction site that shows the project at various stages of construction. Allowing the team to collectively understand what is to be done and how things should be at various stages. The application should also demonstrate hazards on site without exposing workers to those hazards.
Age: 30-65 Occupation: Site foreman Name: Alex A Quote: "A 200 page job spec might be required reading, but no ones actually across it all. It would be great to be able to see the spec and show it to others to explain the detail" 2–3 sentences describing what motivates them: Alex works long hours, and carries a lot of information and responsibility in their head. A key part of Alex's role is communication and having better tools to align everyone's activities on site are critical to a success project. Staff safety is also a top priority. Giving people a clear understand of what's going on across the site keeps everyone safe. Their experience level with VR: Little to none
Q and A
Q: How accessible would each VR platform be to your target student in terms of price? Take into account location, age, and income. A: The only platforms that are really accessible is Cardboard/Daydream or Gear VR style VR. A construction site can be a busy, dirty place. An expensive tethered full immersion rig really isn't practical on site.
Q: How interactive does your lesson need to be? For example, do I need to pick things up or could I get away with just looking at objects? A: The user needs to be able to look at various objects, select them and have some details displayed to them. Movement would be required to view various scenes but does not require movement within a scene.
Q: How realistic do your visuals need to be in order to teach? For example, could I use 2D images and videos in a 3D Environment or do you need high poly 3D models. A: images clear enough to show construction detail and highlight hazards is sufficient. I would also be useful in some cases to be able to show exploded views of constructions, but this could also be done via images or simple animations.
Q: Does my student need to feel like a participant in the experience or can they be a passive viewer? Could they be both? A: Primarily they could be a passive viewer. The purpose of this app is to give the user a sense of what's going on, what needs to be done and what safety issues there are. There's little to no complex interaction required.
Q: Given the answers above, what are potential platforms you could use for your experience? A: In this case I think any platform could work, providing the right conditions. For example a dedicated space would be required for a high immersion setup. Having said that it would be far more practical to use a mobile setup on a construction site.