The Grand Theft Auto video game series has been around for over 2 decades. In each game, you are dropped into an open city where you can do almost anything. Want to drive at top speed off a ramp? Done. Want to shoot some bad guys and steal all their money? Done. Want to learn how to be safe in the workplace? No. But the co-founder of the Grand Theft Auto franchise has taken the concept of an open world, mixed in virtual reality, added some workplace safety techniques and has created what the future could be for workplace safety training.
New York-based startup NextWave Safety Solutions has created two VR-training modules “Forklift” and “Hazard ID”, which allows employees to safely practice and learn workplace safety before being put into action. NextWave drops you into a virtual world and lets you train as if it were real life. With a virtual reality system, you will be able to see and feel what it is like to be behind the wheel of a forklift, without the chance of possible dangers to life and/or finances. All training his tracked and analyzed through software to see what needs to be improved on during further training. While only the two simulations are available now, eight more are planned for 2018
“We look at OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards as the bare minimum,” NextWave CEO Lorenzo Gallo said. “Would you want your child driving around in a car with minimum brake power? For companies wanting to go beyond OSHA, we’re offering not only VR-enhanced training programs but on-site support, both associated with reducing the number of incidents.”
Creating the VR world is Rockstar Games (“Grand Theft Auto”) co-founder and former CTO, Gary J. Foreman. With over two decades of creating worlds that feel very similar to real life, he is changing his focus. Instead of immersing a player in a 5-on-1 battle in the streets, the player will be 25 stories above the streets, on a snowy day, practicing scaffold safety.
The future of this type of technology is looking strong. With many fields from medicine to even fast food wanting to have a sample of virtual reality, NextWave is taking the first steps to make all workplace safer.