High profile Grimsby partnership to pilot virtual reality food processing training

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 13 Jul 2017

VIRTUAL reality is coming to Grimsby’s food processing sector after a £90,000 grant was received to fund new advances in “simulated experiences”. 

Grimsby Institute is working with Icelandic Seachill and Seafish, the industry authority, to use the digital technology to provide training for those working within food and drink manufacturing.

UFI Charitable Trust, a London-based grant-funding body which supports the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, has provided the cash.

Flavours of Reality, the project brought forward, will pilot novel use of Microsoft HoloLens technology to create a ‘mixed reality’ training environment. 

It will combine virtual and augmented reality with the real experience of a production line, and will enable users to ‘test and learn’ a wide range of skills within a safe environment.

Claire Foster, vice principal, said: “Grimsby Institute is situated at the heart of the seafood industry, and we are delighted to have been selected to lead this ground breaking project, which will transform food safety learning and vocational skills through cutting edge innovation. We are proud of our talented academic staff and students, who will be completing the design and development, which places the Institute at the forefront of mixed reality training for the benefit of the food manufacturing industry.”

It will look to meet industry and learner needs by trialling mixed reality technologies to teach essential manual dexterity, precision, information interpretation and spatial awareness skills.

MORE: Grimsby Institute rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted

The unique combination of real and virtual world experiences, based on 360 degree film and audio of Icelandic Seachill production lines, will form the basis for a virtual training environment,  overlaid with additional holographic or 2D information to support learning objectives.  

Nicola Ritchie, learning and development advisor at Icelandic Seachill, said: “We are excited by this new initiative from Grimsby Institute to train production operatives, technical and quality team and internal auditors using digital technology.

We rely upon a significant highly trained workforce to maintain our position as market leader. An immersive journey through the food manufacturing process using ‘mixed reality’ will provide high quality training, with real impact.”

It is hoped that in time this technology can be applied to a wider range of skills and manufacturing environments.

Commenting on the partnership, UFI chief executive, Rebecca Garrod-Waters, said: “There is a clear need in the food and drink manufacturing sector to provide up to date, motivational training in ways that meets the needs of learners and of employers.  This includes training for new entrants and enhancing the skills levels and increase vocational competencies of existing staff.  We believe that Grimsby Institute’s proposed use of mixed reality technologies will facilitate training for all levels within the industry.

“Their partnership with employers and a key industry bodies is just the type of collaboration we were hoping to support with our Manufacturing Skills Fund.  It makes the unique approach to combining virtual and real environments proposed by the Flavours of Reality project possible and gives real potential for rolling this out more widely.”

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