In manufacturing, the teaching and practice of personnel often requires the interaction with expensive, cumbersome, and potentially dangerous machinery and robots (M&R). This challenge becomes increasingly more difficult when considering the efficiency, diversity, and health impact of the successful implementation of M&R applications.
To tackle these challenges, the V-Machina project aims at developing a Virtual Manufacturing Environment (VME) for the EIT M Guided Learning Platform (GLP). Specifically, the VME is a simulated laboratory modelled via Virtual Reality (VR), where any student or practitioner can familiarize and safely practice with M&R. The VME is further enriched with gamification aspects and an activity recognition module aimed at recognizing users’ emotional response to the training task. Such features contribute to improving the learning experience.
The fusion of such modern technologies with innovative intuitions has the potential to provide benefits to both companies and practitioners within the manufacturing sector, and beyond. In addition to enabling resilient practices with M&R and evaluating the implications of their adoption, the VME provides users with a democratization of VR simulations and a series of tailored experiences. These represent major assets of the V-Machina project, whose VME brings its exclusive characteristics (such as behavioral, physiological and well-being at work monitoring and analysis) within a larger platform and educational model.
The EIT funding has been key to boost this innovative approach to education, which promises to play a paramount role in the current and future learning by providing virtual social proximity in such social distance times. V-Machina ended its first phase in December 2020 and, as of today, the VME enables virtual training with the digital twin of a lathe machine and a universal robot. In the second iteration - started on January 2021 - multi-user, personalized avatars and even more sophisticated machinery, i.e. the Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) and grinding machine, will be integrated to enhance users’ skilling, engagement and satisfaction.