Virtual Reality Forklift Simulator Enhances Safety Training

Photo courtest of FL-Simulators

Photo courtesy of FL-Simulators

Virtual reality is one of those science fiction concepts that hasn’t really been matched by the technology. Until now, that is.

Today, big video gaming companies like Xbox and Playstation are launching interactive, three-dimensional virtual reality gaming systems that are likely to revolutionize the video gaming industry.

Google and other companies are experimenting with inexpensive virtual reality headsets made of cardboard that use iPhones and other smartphones to create an interactive virtual reality experience.

Immersive, Lifelike Experience

Now virtual reality is moving from the entertainment phase to more practical applications. A California company has developed a new interactive forklift training the kind of virtual reality headsets gamers use with the sort of mechanical platform used on Disneys’ Star Wars ride to create a lifelike experience of operating a forklift in real-world work situations.

FL-Simulators, based in Newport Beach, California, will showcase the virtual reality forklift training simulator at the CeMAT trade show scheduled to be held later this month in Hanover, Germany. Visitors can don high-tech 360-degree Oculus Rift stereoscopic goggles and climb onto the virtual trainer for an immersive, 3-D training experience.

Actual Forklift Controls

The simulator they sit in has a steering wheel, dashboard, controls and other features found on an actual forklift. Motors inside the unit replicate the feel of riding on an actual lift truck.

The software used for the VR can be expanded to provide various configurations, including different types of masts, attachments, and more.

An earlier version of the virtual reality simulator — which was attached to an actual Hyster forklift — was a big hit at last month’s MODEX trade show in Atlanta. And an even earlier simulator won the Best New Innovation Award at the 2015 ProMAT material handling trade expo in Chicago.

Earlier versions of the training simulator used large screens mounted on actual Toyota forklifts. But thanks to recent advancements in virtual reality technology, the latest version takes the experience one step further. It was developed by Belgian designer Jelmen Lombaerts.

Incorporates Latest VR Breakthroughs

Not only do the headsets provide a 360-degree frame of reference for the operator — as they turn their heads up or down or to the left or right, their field of vision also changes — but the ultra high-definition capabilities of today’s smartphones and other device screens provide a crisp visual image that offers lifelike detail.

Since the company first unveiled its first VR forklift trainer at the ProMat 2015 expo in Chicago, it has sold 10 units. But the latest version is lighter, more compact, and offers a true virtual reality interactive experience.




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