September 21, 2019

Who was that masked forklift driver?

Who was that masked forklift driver?

Comic-Con visitors tested their "super powers" on a Raymond forklift simulator.

By DC Velocity Staff

Say the letters "DC" at Comic-Con, the popular comic book convention, and most people would assume you were talking about DC Comics Inc., the publishing rival to Marvel Worldwide Inc. But visitors to Future Tech Live!, an exhibition of immersive experiences and technology co-located with Comic-Con's annual event in San Diego, quickly learned that it can mean something entirely different: distribution center.

Greene, N.Y.-based forklift manufacturer The Raymond Corp. decided to exhibit at Future Tech Live!, betting that its virtual reality (VR) simulator would appeal to the show's visitors, most of whom likely have never set foot inside a warehouse. As it turned out, the exhibit drew quite a crowd.

Comic-Con aficionados often dress in authentically detailed costumes that look just like their heroes from comics, television, and movies ... certainly different from what the typical warehouse worker would wear. But that didn't deter costumed super-heroes from flocking to Raymond's booth, drawn by the chance to sit on a real forklift and try out the company's virtual reality simulator and its location-tracking system. Booth visitors included fans dressed as Batwoman, "Joker" from the Persona 5 video game, and Rick Sanchez, the scientist character from the Adult Swim animated television series "Rick and Morty," among others.

The simulator lets users learn on an actual Raymond forklift by plugging into the company's Simulation Port (sPort) to connect the truck's controls to the VR system. VR provides a more productive way to learn forklift operating skills than traditional instruction, according to Stacey Patch, business manager, Raymond Virtual Reality Simulator.

The demo may have helped to recruit potential DC employees. Many of the attendees who gave the forklift simulator a try were millennials who would not otherwise have considered a career in material handling and were surprised by how entertaining it can be to "drive" a lift truck, Patch said.

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