A VR training laboratory for the offshore wind industry has been unveiled in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. The Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) facility at Newcastle College aims to provide a realistic training environment allowing offshore wind turbine technicians to learn more cheaply and safely than previously possible.
The technology allows students to conduct detailed fault-finding inspections at the top of a virtual 7MW offshore wind turbine. Unique hybrid elements were combined to blend the real and virtual worlds by allowing users to see their own hands, feet, tools and manuals, whilst also seeing the view from the top of the turbine, with wind and weather conditions factored in.
The tool was developed by the Energy Skills Partnership, Heriot-Watt University and Animmersion UK, in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, with the project’s second phase to be based on the inner workings of the turbines.
Director of the Energy Skills Partnership, Jim Brown, said: “With 25% of Europe’s total offshore wind resource, Scotland has a tremendous opportunity to develop the skills and expertise to design, install and maintain the energy industries of tomorrow. The Immersive Hybrid Reality turbine provides us with a genuinely world-leading facility for the development of the vital talent that we will need to seize upon that opportunity.”