Once completed, the body-angle data was sent to engineering student Nico Northcutt ’17 and Nick Pinero ‘18, a double-major in computer science and game design. The two were directly responsible for coding each of the lifting scenarios and creating the virtual world itself.
“I had never seen a computer program be developed first-hand,” Wolak said. “Watching Nick and Nico do their work was an amazing experience.”
“We had to create the system that would track the body movement and find a way to use this information to properly inform the user,” Pinero said.
Pinero and Northcutt utilized Xbox Kinnect 2, the oculus rift and Unity programming language to create a scene that would properly track the users movements.
For Wolak and the other students involved, work on the simulation has expanded their understanding of how their majors can be applied, and allowed them early exposure to working alongside professionals from other backgrounds.
“This project was extremely challenging, but everybody was open to feedback and new ideas,” Wolak said. “I am beyond excited to resume working with everybody next year.”
While the simulation is still in its prototype phase, the team has already been discussing its other potential applications, from emergency response situations to athletics training.
“The program’s feedback system could potentially tell a rehabbing athlete if he or she is displaying at-risk biomechanics,” said Tom Martin, professor of biomedical sciences. “It’s almost endless what you can do with this.”