"I want to become a forester - for the preservation of our forests," says 16-year-old Lea. She attends a higher educational institution for forestry training. The chances are good, because almost half of the land in Austria is covered with forest.
"There are about 145,000 private forest owners in Austria. There is a lot to do in the forest: maintenance interventions, processing of damaged wood - this requires well-trained people," emphasises Florian Hader from the Forestry Training School (FAST) in Traunkirchen/Upper Austria.
Forest work is dangerous. Around 1,900 people have to be treated in hospitals every year in Austria due to forestry accidents, some of them with serious injuries. Increasing occupational safety and know-how among all those who work in the forest is an important goal.
FWSafeXR at a glance
In future, (prospective) forestry workers will be able to train virtually in tree felling. In the FWSafeXR project commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, a prototype for forestry VR training has been developed under the direction of the AIT Center for Technology Experience: The three modules created are work preparation, tree felling and emergency management or helicopter briefing. Involved from AIT: Raimund Schatz (project management) and Andreas Sackl.
Partners are: the Forestry Training Centres (FAST) Traunkirchen (Florian Hader, Johannes Hummer and Mathias Loidl) and Ossiach (Anna Sophie Pirtscher) of the Federal Forest Research Centre (BFW), the Austrian Red Cross Upper Austria (Ingrid Rupprechter), the Workers' Samaritan Federation (Andreas Balog) and MINDCONSOLE (Sebastian Egger-Lampl, Markus Karlseder).
Thank you for the great feature on ORF in Mayr's magazine last Friday. Here you can watch it in the ORF TVthek (in German):
FWSafeXR at AUSTROFOMA
By the way, at the end of September the FWSafeXR project was an exhibitor at Austria's largest forestry trade fair, AUSTROFOMA 2023, in Spital am Semmering. It was great to see how VR and digitalisation can make an important and good contribution to occupational safety in concrete craft training. The numerous visitors showed great interest in the solution. Safety is a big issue, because cutting down a tree in practice is a dangerous job. Training helps here - it's nice to see that the FWSafeXR training is well received and also fun.
The FWSafeXR project uses eXtended Reality (XR) to help future forest workers train in a safe virtual environment and acquire important skills.