OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -- Your next job interview just might take place in a video game.
Corporations are turning to virtual reality as a job training tool, including some in the Kansas City area.
Global Ground Support, an Olathe-based company that manufactures plane deicers, packages a computer simulation with the trucks it assembles.
Lance Adams, the company's directory of technology development, helped implement the program because of a need in the industry for training.
"One of the most difficult struggles airlines and our customers struggle with is finding qualified people to spray," he said.
Just a room away from the company's assembly floor, Global Ground Support houses a room lined with monitors, chairs and VR headsets.
The stations resemble the cockpit of a deicing boom with joysticks on the right and left. Slipping on the headsets takes trainees inside a three-dimensional space with a first-person view overlooking a sprayer and a boom.
Below your seat is a plane. When Adams demonstrated it, it was a Boeing 737 on a snowy day. He built in dozens of planes and weather conditions to make the experience more realistic.
"There's over 2.7 million variables in this game," Adams said.
The objective of the game is simple--Spray deicing fluid on critical areas of the plane, being careful not to hit "no spray" areas such as passenger windows, until every surface is clear.
In practice it's more difficult than it sounds. Training on a real deicing rig can be expensive.
"You're spraying $18/gallon fluid on a 30 million dollar airplane full of 300 souls," Adams said.
The simulation is much cheaper to implement.
"It's an amazing tool," Adams said.
The technology has become much more approachable in the last few years, too. Educators at UMKC have taken note. In the Spring 2019 semester the college unveiled a facility dedicated to VR job education and training at the School of Computing and Engineering.
Kevin Truman, the dean of the school, said the university is already planning on expanding the facility.
The facility includes training demonstrations for plumbers, a safety simulation an oil company developed for dealing with chemical spills, and several 3D medical modeling tools.
"VR and AR are just starting to catch on in the united states and more and more companies are starting to add virtual reality," Truman explained.
On a national scale, Wal-Mart recently began using VR to train and promote managers. The retailer's program puts employees through a variety of scenarios, such as a misplaced goods on a shelf, to see how a potential hire would react.
Industries are seeking out the power of the first person experience in the safety of a game, rather than the real world.
Adams believes tech companies have only scratched the surface of what VR can offer employers.
"VR isn't just for games," Adams said. "I think it's changing the way we live."