Safe work at elevation through virtual reality simulation.
Dotson BW; Hsiao H
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :60-61
Occupational safety research frequently involves measurement of human responses of workers under normal and extreme conditions, in their work environments, in order to provide recommendations to achieve safer work practices. Often, direct measurements of these responses in the field are not practical, due to safety concerns and the complexity and cost of developing nonintrusive evaluation procedures. Virtual reality simulations offer a solution to this problem. NIOSH researchers are using virtual reality in studies which investigate the physical and mental responses of subjects while working at elevations. These studies will help us to provide recommendations on optimal work settings (e.g., minimum plank width when working on scaffolding at various elevations, visual references for reducing roofers' instability when working on complied or slope surfaces). The virtual reality system that NIOSH developed consists of three main pieces of equipment, an image generator, a surround-screen virtual reality (SSVR) system, and a position tracking system. The image generator produces the graphic images that are viewed on the SSVR. The images projected on the SSVR are stereoscopic, which means the left and right eye images are projected separately. The user wears a pair of LCD shutter glasses, which are synchronized with the projectors so that the user's eyes see the correct image. Viewing the graphical objects in stereo makes the objects appear to be three dimensional. The VR technology is promising for other applications too. We are assessing the feasibility of 1) establishing a multi-directional treadmill for walk-at-elevation simulations, 2) designing portable motor vehicle simulation platforms for work-zone safety simulations, 3) converting real world images into VR system, 4) developing additional walls for the current VR system to accommodate overhead work simulation (e.g., crane operation), and converting current SGI-driven system to PC-driven to reduce system maintenance cost.
Simulation methods; Models; Accident prevention; Injury prevention; Safety engineering; Safety research
NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000