Scottish Science Minister opens new virtual reality training centre in Fife for offshore wind turbine technicians

Science Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP (left) tries out the new dual ‘actual and virtual’ reality system, aided by Fife College engineering student, Jamie-Lee Tucker.
Science Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP (left) tries out the new dual ‘actual and virtual’ reality system, aided by Fife College engineering student, Jamie-Lee Tucker.

A new virtual reality ‘goggle-box’ training laboratory for offshore wind turbine technicians has been officially opened in Fife.

The ‘immersive hybrid reality’ facility at Rosyth provides an ultra-realistic training environments for offshore wind turbine technicians.

It allows trainees to ‘virtually’ conduct detailed fault-finding inspections atop a virtual offshore wind turbine which has been modelled on an actual 7-MW turbine at nearby Levenmouth.

The ‘goggle-box’ training laboratory combines the real and virtual worlds, allowing users to see their own hands and feet, real tools or manuals, whilst ‘working’ at the top of the turbine and 110 yards above sea level.

Augmented with the sounds of the wind and changing weather conditions, it provides one of the most realistic training environments anywhere in the world. Following this ‘top-of-the-turbine’ training programme, a second phase will introduce a virtual programme for internal inspections within turbine towers.

The new facility was officially opened by Shirley-Anne Somerville, MSP, the Scottish government’s Science Minister, who said: “We are keen to support the development of this ‎immersive hybrid reality lab as it represents a tremendous opportunity to develop the skills and jobs required by the growing offshore renewables industry in Scotland.

“The lab promotes learning through exciting new technology ensuring that students are able to experience work activities within realistic site conditions, and as result learn without facing actual health and safety at work risks.”

The iHR system has been developed by Heriot-Watt University, visualisation specialists Animmersion UK and  the Energy Skills Partnership in partnership with Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

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