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Serious Labs unveils UMB for VR heavy equipment simulators


March 11, 2020
By Serious Labs

Serious Labs unveiled a Universal Motion Base (UMB) for seated Virtual Reality (VR) Heavy Equipment Simulators at CONEXPO/CON-AGG. The UMB has been designed as the common foundation for the development of additional VR equipment simulators such as skid steers, dozers, excavators, backhoes, and more – as well as for vehicles such as buses and trucks.

“We are really excited about our latest innovation,” said Jim Colvin, CEO, Serious Labs. “Because of its versatility, the UMB has opened a wide door for us to have conversations with any number of equipment manufacturers or industry regulators whereby we could build training simulators, no matter what industry they are in or where in the world they are located.”

The UMB comes standard with an operator’s seat, a custom-tuned D-Box actuator system for motion-feedback, and a slide-lock attachment system which is focused on operator comfort during equipment training. The UMB’s design offers logical options for equipment controls, including a steering column or control handles, multiple pedal options and attachment points on either side of the operator to accommodate all future equipment types.

When the company develops additional equipment simulators on top of the UMB, they will tune the D-Box actuator system to match that equipment’s personality and feel to ensure it provides critical motion queuing. This will help to mitigate cybersickness, a problem found with many simulators on the market today.

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“The UMB marks our entrance into developing VR simulators for dirt moving equipment. This will introduce task-based scenarios for tool interaction with a dynamic terrain. In our simulators, if you were to operate a piece of equipment to pick up a load of dirt, traverse a jobsite and unload that dirt, we would be capturing telemetry on how to work a pile, the depth of the dig and the resistance on the equipment, wheel rotations from the dig and dump pile, and the conservation of mass during the task among many others,” said Wade Carson, senior director, product development. “This type of data helps to determine many aspects of equipment operation in addition to the operator’s proficiency and efficiency. We want to make sure that if these operators are operating these pieces of equipment, they’re being efficient, and not damaging equipment in the process of being efficient. These tasks and results have real world implications.”

The UMB’s potential applications are being offered both inside and out of the construction industry, demonstrating Serious Labs’ approach to tech development and trailblazing mentality. The company is currently in a pilot phase to develop forklift simulators with United Rentals’ built upon the UMB. They are also seeking additional partners in the construction industry, and are looking to expand beyond heavy equipment with active discussions in the commercial carrier industry.


“Virtual reality has changed the training landscape in the construction equipment world. Operators can now train in a risk-free environment which helps to save lives, reduce accidents and eliminate damaged equipment by untrained operators,” said Colvin. “Disruption is becoming the new normal.”

For the last 15 years, Serious Labs has built award-winning simulators for industries across construction, oil and gas.Companies can rent or buy Serious Labs’ simulators through its global rental partners. Subscription access provides a growing, evolving training investment. Continuous product innovation means their simulator training will always be relevant and designed to shift with industry changes.

To learn more about Serious Labs and VR at CONEXPO, check out CEO Jim Colvin’s presentation “Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and the Future of Work: Are You Ready for the New Realities?” in the Westgate Ballroom C on March 1 at 3 p.m. Serious Labs board member Brad Boehler will also present an educational session on March 11 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. entitled “Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Construction Technology” in Westgate Pavilion 9. An education pass is required for both sessions.