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The Technische Hilfswerk (THW) has received a simulation program for training the dike runners, in which virtual reality glasses create the greatest possible practical relevance in the classroom. In the research project "Dike Defense Simulation", the THW is examining, among other things, whether and how operational civil protection can benefit from virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

THW dyke runners check dike sections and mark and document damage in order to be able to control the use of dyke protection forces in a targeted manner. The virtual reality training system supports theoretical and practical training. The aspirants are assigned a virtual section of the dike, which they must examine for various types of damage. Since the dike runners consist of teams of two people each, two learners can act simultaneously in the simulation. The training staff can import or position various types of damage such as landslides, water leaks or cracks, and simulate different flood levels. In addition, what is happening can be observed from a training place.

The virtual dike was realized by Szenaris with Unity3D and can be experienced with the HTC VivePro virtual reality glasses. The combination of these wireless virtual reality glasses and sensors installed in the room make it possible to move freely in the virtual world and to explore the dike “on foot”.

In addition to training, the simulator can also be used to prepare for a specific exam. The section to be checked is displayed for this. The dike walkers can then familiarize themselves with the conditions in advance.

The virtual reality dike defense simulator is nominated for the delina Award 2021, which honors projects that combine modern technologies and media with everyday learning in an innovative way. The award will be presented at the leading European trade fair for digital education, Learntec, in Karlsruhe in June 2021.

Gerhard Heiming