The Importance of Worker Knowledge in Slips, Trips, and Falls and the Utility of Virtual Reality-based Locomotion Research
Researchers at the North Carolina State University Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering recently published results from an experiment assessing how internal factors, such as the fidelity of worker training and prior knowledge of a walking environment, affect walkers as they approach slip and trip hazards while multitasking. A virtual environment (VE) of a suburban town was projected on a screen in front of a treadmill while walkers wore light shutter glasses in order to provide the visual sensation of walking through a 3-D environment. As the participants walked through the environment, they encountered puddles and potholes in the sidewalk representing slips and trips, respectively. As their avatar encountered these virtual obstacles, an experimenter pulled a leash attached to the participant's ankles to simulate the forces of a slip or trip. The treadmill contained a force plate so that changes in each participant's gait could be measured as they approached the puddles and potholes.
Our upcoming course "Treating Patients with Highly Contagious Infectious Diseases: Using Technology to Advance Safety" demonstrates how Virtual Reality and simulation can be used in hospitals to develop safety protocols and assist in training for the event of treating a patient infected with an agent such as the ebola virus. Learn more about the course, taking place on April 6, 2016, here.