Food poisoning is a real problem and can strike at anytime and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 600 million people suffer some form of illnesses after eating contaminated food. The subject of food poisoning impacts not just public health and safety but can also national economies. Though improving hygiene training is the fundamental root cause of helping to tackle this problem, virtual reality (VR) might also be the way forward.
This is the answer according to a group of academics who are creating a VR experience which is design to help train individuals in kitchen hygiene. Thanks to the advancements in technology, reduced development costs and wider adoption of the products, turning to VR to help train people and raise awareness of food poisoning is a logical decision.
The project is titled the The Corrupt Kitchen VR and is being made at the University of Nottingham by the Digital Research Team as a means to educate and train users on food hygiene and food poisoning. Dr Paul Tennent outlines The Corrupt Kitchen VR writing on the projects blog saying: “The Corrupt Kitchen VR is a game where players must balance the task of cooking meals as requests come in with adhering to health and safety rules: keeping themselves and the kitchen clean and free of infestation; ensuring the quality of their ingredients; and ensuring that their employees have all the correct paperwork. The more meals they produce, the more money the restaurant makes and the higher their score. Neglecting the other tasks will certainly make them more money, but there’s an associated risk.”
As the users will need to deal with an endless queue of customers they must ensure they preform all the needed tasks while maintaining a high level of hygiene within their kitchen. Washing their hands, mopping the floors and keep rats out of the kitchen will ensure a good result if a bit less income. The Corrupt Kitchen VR also allows for a second player to join the experience and act as a health inspector. They will be able to assess the chefs work and issue fines as they see fit. “But inspectors are people too – they’ve got families at home and bills to pay – maybe a healthy bribe will make them forget seeing that rat in the meat grinder?” Tennent notes on the blog post.
The experience is being built within the Unity 3D engine and taking advantage of the HTC Vive in order to give players the freedom they need to tackle the challenges. Every detail of the title is being built with detail in mind from the movements required to flip burgers to the options available when it comes to hiring staff for your kitchen. The goal of The Corrupt Kitchen VR is to ensure people are aware of the issues surrounding food hygiene, besides other kitchen responsibilities, and educate them ready for the workplace.
The Corrupt Kitchen VR is still in development and the team at Nottingham University continue to document their process on their blog. VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest on this title in the future so stay tuned for more.