ICT/Digital Project of the Year 2022: launching a canoe in VR

While aircraft pilots are already partly trained through virtual reality, what about maritime operations? The Antwerp Maritime Academy takes the plunge.

This year is marked by two Project of the Year winners in the maritime field, including this VR training model from the Antwerp Maritime Academy. The maritime personnel school notably teaches students how to carry out various operations on board in complete safety, in particular the relatively perilous launching of the lifeboat.

“Students need to learn, both in theory and in practice, how to perform this type of task correctly,” explains Inez Houben, professor at the academy. In an ideal world, these operations are taught until they become practically automatic, but in practice, the exercise of launching a lifeboat requires a complete infrastructure with a reproduction of the boat floating on the pond. on the school grounds. But the time devoted to practical exercises is relatively limited, emphasizes Houben. “We wanted to know if VR could help us with this type of teaching if the infrastructure were to fail.”

Last March, Delaware began developing a VR environment for this exercise and in October, the first VR headset lessons began. The first results quickly proved to be encouraging, insists Houben. “In the interactions with the students, we noticed that this approach was more effective. This is how they know better in what order they must carry out their tasks. We are now going to see if we can deepen certain situations that we cannot achieve in practice.” This is particularly the case for simulations of dangerous situations or more simply for “launching a canoe from a higher height. This type of exercise obviously cannot be done in a pond since it is only 2 m deep, continues Houben. At this level, virtual reality can help us.”

Initially, the app should allow students to train more frequently and to practice situations that cannot be simulated ‘in reality’, but which relate to situations where the danger of death is real in the event of mishandling. However, Houben sees it above all as an additional aid to learning. “The app can analyze where the student is looking, how fast they react to a situation, etc. In doing so, students can also check in the app how fast they are performing a particular procedure. And as a teacher, I can directly see what is right and what is wrong, and correct if necessary.”

For now, the simulation is a tool for analysis, but the Maritime Academy hopes that in the future it will also be able to offer official certifications based on this training. In addition, the training courses themselves could be extended. “For now, it’s about launching a lifeboat, but we could also develop jetties where students could learn to master the different types of mooring or other operations. ”

This year is marked by two Project of the Year winners in the maritime field, including this VR training model from the Antwerp Maritime Academy. The maritime personnel school notably teaches students how to carry out various operations on board in complete safety, in particular the relatively perilous launching of the lifeboat. “Students need to learn, both in theory and in practice, how to perform this type of task correctly,” explains Inez Houben, professor at the academy. In an ideal world, these operations are taught until they become practically automatic, but in practice, the exercise of launching a lifeboat requires a complete infrastructure with a reproduction of the boat floating on the pond. on the school grounds. But the time devoted to practical exercises is relatively limited, emphasizes Houben. “We wanted to know if VR could help us with this type of teaching if the infrastructure were to fail.” Last March, Delaware began developing a VR environment for this exercise and in October, the first VR headset lessons began. The first results quickly proved to be encouraging, insists Houben. “In the interactions with the students, we noticed that this approach was more effective. This is how they know better in what order they must carry out their tasks. We are now going to see if we can deepen certain situations that we cannot achieve in practice.” This is particularly the case for simulations of dangerous situations or more simply for “launching a canoe from a higher height. This type of exercise obviously cannot be done in a pond since it is only 2 m deep, continues Houben. At this level, virtual reality can help us.” Initially, the app should allow students to train more frequently and to practice situations that cannot be simulated ‘in reality’, but which relate to situations where the danger of death is real in the event of mishandling. However, Houben sees it above all as an additional aid to learning. “The app can analyze where the student is looking, how fast they react to a situation, etc. In doing so, students can also check in the app how fast they are performing a particular procedure. And as a teacher, I can directly see what is right and what is wrong, and correct if necessary.” For now, the simulation is a tool for analysis, but the Maritime Academy hopes that in the future it will also be able to offer official certifications based on this training. In addition, the training courses themselves could be extended. “For now, it’s about launching a lifeboat, but we could also develop jetties where students could learn to master the different types of mooring or other operations. ”

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ICT/Digital Project of the Year 2022: launching a canoe in VR


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