The issue of training operators in the use of machinery is topical in the industrial field and in many other contexts, such as university laboratories. Training is about learning how to use machinery properly and safely.
Beyond the possibility of studying manuals to learn how to use a machine, operators typically learn through on-the-job training. Indeed, learning by doing is in general more effective, tasks done practically are remembered more easily, and the training is more motivating and less tiresome. On the other hand, this training method has several negative factors. In particular, safety may be a major issue in some training situations.
An approach that may contribute overcoming negative factors is using Virtual Reality and digital simulation techniques for operators training.
The research work presented in this paper concerns the development of a multisensory Virtual Reality application for training operators to properly use machinery and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The context selected for the study is a university laboratory hosting manufacturing machinery. The application allows user to navigate the laboratory, to approach a machine and learn about how to operate it, and also to use proper PPE while operating a machine. Specifically, the paper describes the design and implementation of the application and presents the results of preliminary testing sessions.