VR Training Used for 2018 Olympics… and Forklift Driving

By Alex Batty, MHI Marketing Communications Coordinator |@mhi_alex

It’s that time again.

I (insert intensifier of choice here) LOVE the Olympics. And it’s the Winter version. Even better.

I grew up about 90 minutes north of Salt Lake City, UT, so when the Olympics were there, my fourth grade year got a whole lot cooler.

I’m talking programs and tickets and pin trading and JUST ALL OF IT. Our principal was even one of the torch bearers. I’ve had the bug ever since. And a lot of the US Olympic Team training still happens at Salt Lake area/Park City facilities, so I get a spark of that first time feeling every time I hear about it.

So when my boss forwarded this article talking about how the same kind of tech that’s been used in supply chain is also being used in the Olympics to train, I flipped out.

The story popped up on CNET and it talks about how members of the US alpine ski team has been using VR to train for their Olympic runs. The virtual reality course is the exact same one they will be running at Pyeongchang.

The VR course allows them to react to different conditions and speeds, allowing them to create competitive reflexes – which can make the difference in sports where tenths of second matter.┬áIt also allows for rehab and recovery; for example, Laurenne Ross tore her ACL and meniscus and training on the VR set as part of a grueling rehab regimen cut her recovery time in half.

The pros of training using VR are also being seen in supply chain. Similar technology is being used to train forklift drivers for work in material handling, using certified instructors to move through a standardized lesson set in a controlled environment, all while training on actual forklift controls. VR training not only creates a safe environment for training (keeping novice drivers out of heavy machinery before they’re ready), but can also train for unique, dangerous situations without endangering the driver.

The 2018 MHI Innovation Award, being presented at MODEX, serves to education and provide valuable insights on the latest manufacturing and supply chain products and services. Some of the submissions include VR and simulated testing innovations, which you can check out here and here.

If you want to see them in person, come hang out at MODEX 2018. Admission is free, so come pretend to be an Olympian training for the Forklift Event with me (it’s totally going to be a 2020 event. I can feel it).