How can you give hands-on training in a virtual world?

By

EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

3 minute read 28 Mar 2018
Related topics Digital Workforce Disruption

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Once considered a gimmick, virtual reality has caught the interest of the industries looking to train their staff more effectively.

Manus VR is one company that has seen a growing interest in the virtual reality market. The Eindhoven-based start-up, founded by a group of friends and avid gamers, began developing a VR glove in 2014. Their objective? To change the way people interact with technology.

“When we started, we found that hands are often neglected in this space. You need to look at what is needed and what is required to have that interaction with VR. And one of those aspects is reliable hand tracking,” says CEO and EY alumnus Stephan van den Brink.

Van den Brink and his co-founders set about creating a VR glove aimed at the consumer. Yet they soon realized their product had a dual purpose.

The value of hands-on training

“The point where we found that the consumer gaming market was not ready for our kind of device was when we actually looked at the pre-orders and the questions we got from customers,” van den Brink recalls.

He was surprised that most of the interest came from industries that were interested in using the VR glove to improve current working methods. So the team turned their attention to the business market and began working alongside companies to help improve the way they trained employees.

“It’s going to make a lot of things more efficient. If you train people in VR to do something, you have so much more control and you can imitate work environments really quickly,” says Stijn Stumpel, Manus VR’s lead designer.

Industries using VR for training  

One obvious problem many companies face today is the limitation of training employees using 2D written or video material. In industries where real-life practical experience is essential, books and films just aren’t enough. Using VR gloves, people can use their hands just as intuitively as they can in real life.

The industries that are seeing a real benefit from the use of VR gloves and related technology are the manufacturing, industrial and medical sectors. By training their employees in VR to complete complex tasks and procedures, companies can save money, provide a safe training environment and refine processes.

“The automotive industry is very interested in VR technology because those companies have a high volume of very expensive products,” says van den Brink. “So they are now integrating VR into factory lines, because there are still a lot of people working with their hands. In order to automate the process, it’s more efficient to do it in VR to see how much time it takes and how they can make it more efficient and productive.”

Stephan van den Brink

The medical field offers another example. Doctors can use VR to learn new procedures and train with some of the world’s best surgeons. While the training is essential, the byproduct of having multiple doctors learn in VR is just as valuable – data.

“If you let 1,000 doctors perform heart surgery in VR, you can look at the data and you can find out what combination of movements is most efficient, most safe or most cost-effective. And that’s cool. That’s new,” says Stumpel.

The potential of VR is limitless

Van den Brink believes the value of VR for training is limitless: “As the internet did with knowledge, the same thing can be done with VR regarding skills and experiences.”

What does this mean for industries going forward? For early adopters of this technology, it means the ability to:

  • Create real-life training experiences for more employees
  • Refine processes
  • Create efficiencies – saving time and money
  • Provide a safe training environment
  • Enable quality data collection
  • Establish best practices

And in the next several years? For van den Brink and Manus VR: “We envision that, in three years, we will have built up a sustainable company based on the current industries that we are helping. But in five years, I think we can really set a standard in how we interact with technology.”

Summary

Manus VR, helmed by EY alumnus Stephan van den Brink, built a virtual reality glove that’s transforming hands-on training.

About this article

By

EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

Related topics Digital Workforce Disruption