Published on June 3rd, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
COVID-19 VR Training With Virus-Free Headsets
If you have been following Emergent Enterprise during the pandemic, you have seen several posts that show how the technology community has responded in great ways to help the world deal with the crisis. This article from Alice Bonasio at VR Scout shares the efforts of two companies making an impact in the COVID-19 battle. One major benefit of training experiences in VR is that the user can be placed in dangerous or deadly situations without risk. Such is the case with the training covered in this post. There are countless case studies in many industries where VR training can build up skilled workers before they enter into the necessary risk of their jobs. That capability alone is worth the price of adoption.
Image Credit: Shift
Two women-founded XR companies have partnered to provide free COVID-19 training.
Back in March, Wendy Morgan, CEO and co-founder of Shift got a call from a fellow entrepreneur asking if she had thought of using VR to train people working in the pop-up hospitals being set up to deal with the extra influx of coronavirus patients that states were expecting from the pandemic.
This prompted the Shift team to adapt their technology – originally developed for training teachers to recognize and mitigate implicit bias in the classroom – to help with the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our goal was to provide virtual reality COVID-19 training for healthcare workers and those working in post-acute care and long-term care facilities who are being asked to engage in care that is outside their normal practice as well as for those whose training is out of date,” Morgan explains.
The company, which is based in the small town of Bend, Oregon, quickly partnered with Lane Workforce Partnership and got support from the Facebook Foundation through the East Cascade Workforce Improvement Board. The curriculum content and scenarios have been supplied by the University of Portland School of Nursing. This got the attention of the Oregon COVID-19 task force as they were looking for training solutions during the crisis.
At around the same time, Amy Hedrick, CEO and co-founder of CleanBox was also doing her bit to help with the crisis by retrofitting some of their machines – which use UVC light to disinfect VR headsets between uses – to be donated to hospitals, where they made it possible for healthcare workers to decontaminate and safely reuse their N-95 masks.
Hedrick explains that Cleanbox has since gone on to announce a new machine called CleanDefense, specifically designed to disinfect Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and help healthcare workers deal with the ongoing shortages of these essential supplies.