So it turns out, the time spent learning how to make games as a personal interest earlier this year has become useful in my work life. A few months ago, I started thinking about and exploring how emerging technologies can be used with Watershed. The general approach has been to identify a technology, come up with a use case around learning/training, and create a working prototype that sends data to Watershed to be reported on. The first of these was Amazon Alexa which was quite fun.
There were more than a few ideas about where to go next. Given the amount of interest and buzz in the tech industry around virtual reality, I decided to dig into that. The use case we landed on was around identifying industrial safety hazards.
The prototype I’m currently working on uses a number of technologies. Since I don’t own any high-end VR hardware, I decided to go with the Google VR SDK and build a Google Cardboard app that runs on my iPhone. I’m also using the open source TinCan.NET library and JSON .NET asset for Unity to send data to our platform.
With a Google Cardboard app, there are three basic inputs you can work with: look at, look away, and click. I decided that when a user looks at and clicks on each unique safety hazard, the prototype should send data to Watershed expressing who identified it. There are a few other data points I’m considering collecting as well.
Though I wanted to create all the 3D assets myself, for the sake of time I instead leveraged Unity’s Asset Store. This allowed me to construct the simulation’s environment in a matter of days instead of months. I’m using a mixture of both free and paid assets. I’m pretty happy with the results though part of me still wants to dust off my 3D modeling skills. Another part of me wants to add roaming zombies.
Screenshot of the prototype in Unity
Video capture of the simulation running in Unity
Facebook 360 photo of the simulation environment (click to open and pan around)
There is still more to do before I can call this prototype done. When I get there, I’ll write a more exhaustive post about the process, challenges, and successes. For now, I wanted to capture my thoughts and progress so far.