Case Study: SimSpray Virtual Reality Tool Uses Polhemus Trackers to Train Painters

SimSpray™ is a proprietary product developed by VRSim, in East Hartford, Connecticut. VRSim creates training tools to help teach industrial trades and manufacturing skills. "SimSpray is the first product in the coatings industry that uses immersive virtual reality to teach basic skills." - Matthew Wallace, CEO and President, VRSim


“A really good automotive painter isn’t an artist; he’s consistent,” according to Shawn Dixon, Lead Auto Body Instructor at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina. Dixon has been training his students to be consistent with SimSpray, a stand-alone system that uses virtual reality to simulate spray painting and coating in a fully immersive 3-D environment.

SimSpray™  is a proprietary product developed by VRSim, in East Hartford, Connecticut. VRSim creates training tools to help teach industrial trades and manufacturing skills.

SimSpray combines physical components with virtual reality to create a one-of-a-kind experience that includes visual and auditory cues in an easy-to-use format. SimSpray is the only product that provides an immersive virtual reality experience while allowing the trainee to walk around and interact with a fully three dimensional representation of an object such as: a gas tank, i-beam, vehicle door, etc. to create a spray painting and coating experience that looks, sounds and feels real.

The Polhemus PATRIOT™ motion tracking system is the choice for SimSpray, due to its flexibility, accuracy, and price. For industrial versions that require more tracking volume, the Polhemus LIBERTY™ system is being used. With a reputation for producing repeatable results, Polhemus motion trackers are a great fit for training and simulation applications requiring precision and consistency.
 
Dixon touts the system as being a great training tool because “SimSpray gives immediate feedback without having to prep a panel, be exposed to harmful chemicals, or release VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere.”
 
According to Dixon, consistent angle, travel speed and setback are all elements to master within the technique; SimSpray trains on all these things. Dixon noted, "I am always telling my students who are learning to paint that they need to be like a robot--'just do it the same way every time.' I think SimSpray is going to make better robots out of my students.”
 
Jim Brown, Auto Body Program Coordinator for Guilford Technical Community College, located in Jamestown, North Carolina, loves the results of SimSpray from the training perspective, but also sees its value in recruiting efforts.
 
SimSpray helps students grasp the fundamental basics of painting in an atmosphere they can relate to. The results are faster, safer, and more cost effective learning experiences. SimSpray is an awesome recruiting tool that draws a lot of attention and interaction to the painting trade.”

SimSpray allows people to give virtual painting a try without worrying about any of the risks that are normally associated with spray painting.
 
Traditional training methods pose risks that include exposure to hazardous chemicals in the coatings and solvents by inhaling vapors from spraying, absorbing the chemical through skin contact, or injecting the chemical with high pressure spray painting equipment. Using virtual reality to augment traditional training helps minimize these risks during the training process.

Instead, SimSpray allows students to practice in a safe classroom environment without exposure to hazardous VOCs, while building muscle memory and perfecting spray painting techniques.

Cost savings as well as environmental factors also make SimSpray attractive to the spray painting training and simulation market. Unlike traditional methods of training, there are zero costs for materials during the trial and error phase. By reducing the need for materials and eliminating hazardous waste and air emissions, SimSpray decreases the costs of traditional programs while minimizing the impact on the environment.  
 
SimSpray can help advance spray paint training in educational and manufacturing programs. The simulation augments traditional training methods and allows a novice painter to receive one-on-one attention from a virtual instructor, while providing objective feedback on each project.  The result is an optimized training experience and a system that produces painters faster than traditional approaches where an instructor oversees several trainees simultaneously.

"SimSpray is the first product in the coatings industry that uses immersive virtual reality to teach basic skills," said Matthew Wallace, CEO and President of VRSim. "The system is built with the end user in mind; the simulation is flexible and will integrate with existing teaching methods."

Wallace went on to emphasize that VRSim has just begun to demonstrate how effective virtual reality can be as a training tool. "This is the first part of what will be a modern approach to learning. The company is working on a whole collection of feature improvements that will expand the user experience in beneficial ways. There are a lot of exciting things in store," said Wallace.

For more information on VRSim, visit: http://www.vrsim.net/ 

SimSpray is a trademark of VRSim. LIBERTY and PATRIOT are trademarks of Polhemus.

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