In order to introduce thermal cameras to new users, FLIR has been using traditional training techniques - bringing together groups of participants at training centres, with staged scenarios, written manuals and a training coordinator. Delivering effective training is vital for the application of thermal imaging where thermal imaging is often deployed in emergency situations and users must be able to use and apply skills with confidence.
Thermal cameras are primarily used in potentially dangerous situations to identify and analyse heat-sources and offer an extensive set of features to help the user apply the right imaging techniques to better understand the cause. While traditional training can provide the theory, gaining hands-on experience using the thermal cameras is essential.
FLIR turned to VR training primarily as a way to use the immersive experience to enable participants to experience practical scenarios and learn how to use thermal cameras to perform fault-finding. Thermal imaging presents a unique challenge in training where heat-sources need to be generated in order for participants to learn and develop hands-on skills. Through VR training, dangerous scenarios that re-create real world faults leading to deviations in temperatures can be presented safely and accurately.
FLIR offer an extensive range of thermal camera products supporting different types of usage-scenarios and industries, such as marine, emergency services and construction. In order to be able to apply VR training effectively, it is essential that the virtual thermal camera behaves identically to the real product - including the camera controls such as zoom, auto-focus and temperature settings where the resulting effects are accurately shown to the user through the virtual screen.
Translating the fine-controls and feeling of holding a thermal camera to a VR headset with the accompanying hand controls is especially well suited to the Gleechi VirtualGrasp
technology. Through developing an understanding of an object, such as a thermal camera, rather than defining limited interaction points, VirtualGrasp enable participants to freely interact using grasping motions. This can be applied to enable participants to perform actions naturally, such as manually adjusting the zoom level of the camera, by turning a wrist to effect the turning motion.