Simulating Soil for Heavy Machinery Training


Serious Labs is a company that
specializes in training simulations and e-learning for training purposes
in the construction, mining, and oil and gas industries. Soil is very tricky to simulate
because, if you think of it, the soil consists of millions
of particles. It takes a lot of computation to move soil around.
And at one level that doesn’t seem very important, but in
the computer simulation, if the soil doesn’t move correctly,
people will immediately be bothered by that, and it will
take them away from the simulation that they’re in.
So if they’re doing training, they want the simulation
to look realistic. The dirt technology that we’re
talking about here is very speculative. It would be very
high risk for our company to do on our own. This is a great
way for us to kind of take some of that risk off
of our shoulders. With the Engage Grant, the idea
was that we set up a preliminary collaboration with a company
we had never worked with before. It was a very nice extension
of our work that we had already been doing, but it applied directly to
a problem of interest to Serious Labs. They can come at things
from a completely different angle, which they have. We had produced, we’ll say,
a prototype of the software, but it could not be used in
practice by Serious Labs at the end of the Engage Grant.
Serious Labs was very interested in us continuing the work
on those solutions, and so that’s why we looked at
an Engage Plus Grant. I think it’s probably very fulfilling
to work on something and know that it’s going to someone
who’s excited to use it. We see an opportunity to take
research that has been funded by the Canadian taxpayer and
apply it in a way that benefits the Canadian economy. So then
one could imagine, if our research is useful, that a whole
generation of people who are operating equipment, machinery and large
machines would benefit from improved training.

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