Trying on The Trades in Northern Manitoba

Try on the Trades in the North

Trying on the Trades in Northern Manitoba

Bit Space Development and the Manitoba Construction Sector Council recently traveled to northern Manitoba to promote work in the trades and the immersive technology used for training in that industry.

By Kevin Carbotte

In the second week of April, part of the Bit Space Development team took a trip to northern Manitoba to share our learning experiences with kids who live in communities that don’t often get access to technology that we use daily here in the office.

On an early Tuesday morning in March, four people from Bit Space and one from the Manitoba Construction Sector Council piled into a minivan with a staggering amount of technology. We brought 22 Apple iPads, 27 Pico Goblin standalone VR headsets, 2 Acer Windows Mixed Reality headsets with laptops to power them, and a whole bunch of extra equipment just in case, which included two HTC Vive setups and extra laptops.  

Honestly, it was a small miracle that everything fit with enough space left for five people in the van.

First Stop: Norway House

Day One of our trip was spent entirely in the van. Our first destination was Norway House, which is a reserve community north of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. According to Google, the drive from Winnipeg to Norway House takes 9-hours. After making the drive ourselves, we can confirm that trek took longer than a typical work day.

The following day, we made our way to the Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House, where we took over the gymnasium for most of the day. Here we played host to several groups of kids ranging from Grade 5 through Grade 9. The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre is a large school with nearly 1300 students, and we met roughly one-third of the students throughout the day.

The technology experience demonstration featured three stations for the kids to cycle through. The first station offered iPad tablets running our Trades Town board game that teaches kids about the different trades in Manitoba. This was a favourite station, and the kids got engaged with the game.

The second station offered the kids a chance to see what it’s like to work in the trades. We shared our Try on The Trades video series, which features 15 immersive 360-degree videos of different construction industry and manufacturing sites.

Goblins For Everyone!

With 27 Pico Goblins to go around, we were able to share the Try on The Trades experiences with every student who showed up to try. Many of these kids had never been outside of their small community, so they were fascinated with seeing sites from Winnipeg and other locations.

The Try on The Trades experiences was a big hit, but our third station with the room scale VR simulation was by far the most engaging experience. We had two Windows Mixed Reality systems running our Power Tools VR simulator. With our simulation software, the students were able to learn how to use one of eight different power tools such as two different drills, a variety of saws, a grinder, and nail gun.

Many students expressed a desire to try again. However, the time constraints of the event prevented the students from having a second turn.

Second Stop: Wabowden

One the second leg of our journey, Bit Space and MCSC rolled into a small community called Wabowden and set up shop at Mel Johnson School (the only one in town) for the day. Wabowden is a small town with very few people and to make the career fair a worthwhile endeavour, the school division bussed in kids from Grand Rapids—a community 3-hours away.

With such a small group, the second day was much easier on our team. But more importantly, the kids were able to get much more out of the experience. Instead of a select few kids getting to try one tool in our Power Tools game, everyone got to try the game, and most people attempted to use more than one tool. We even had one carpentry student who was so impressed with the simulator that he got back in line to try all eight options.

Day Three: Cranberry Portage

Following our stop at Wabowden, the five of us piled back into the van and drove to The Pas for some food and some sleep. The next stop on our tour would be at the Frontier Collegiate Institute in a town close to Flin Flon called Cranberry Portage.

The event in Cranberry Portage was a little bit bigger than the one in Wabowden, but it was still on the smaller side, which allowed the students to spend a significant amount of time with our technology. We didn’t have anyone who got to try all eight tools, but everyone interested in trying more than one had to opportunity to try another tool.

The Pico Goblins with the Try on The Trades videos weren’t as popular at this stop, but the iPad games were a big hit with the kids.

Over four days, we spend nearly 24 hours driving across Manitoba, we stopped at three schools, and we spent an hour on our feet running tech demonstrations. But the feedback that we received from the Frontier School Division made the whole trip worth our time.

The Feedback Made It All Worth While

We spoke with the organizers of the trip a week after we returned, and they told us that the teachers and the kids had nothing but great things to say about our presence. They all appreciated the chance to try our training experiences, to learn more about the trades in Manitoba, and to get a taste of what we do in the Interactive Digital Media industry. 

VR Sims Are More Engaging Than Traditional Training

woman in vr

Training employees in Virtual Reality is safer than training on the job site and more engaging than training in a classroom.

Virtual Reality technology is changing the way the construction industry prepares its workers for the job site. VR offers safer alternatives to on-the-job training, which leads to fewer on-the-job accidents and more efficient workers.

Construction workers deal with life-threatening hazards on the worksite on a daily basis and to navigate these dangerous conditions safely; one must be trained to spot the dangers before they cause harm.

Virtual reality simulations make it possible for new employees to learn the ropes without putting them in dangerous situations unprepared. Simulations can be helpful to familiarize new employees with safety procedures and best practices before they ever get to the job site. Trainees can learn how to use unfamiliar equipment, or they can be shown the proper procedures for a given task, all while in a safe and controlled environment.

360-Degree Video Simulations

Bit Space Development has been working with construction companies for most of its history. Our VRSafety platform enables us to create custom-tailored safety simulations to improve onboarding and safety awareness procedures. Each VRSafety simulation features unique 360-degree images of real job sites, and we can add custom pop-up images and notes to help get new employees up to speed.

fall arrest evaluation




Our clients report that VR simulations make it easier for employees to spot hazards because they get a better understanding of what to look for on the real job site. They also love that they can look around in all directions as if they were at the site. It gives people a better perspective of what a job site looks like in person. This is especially important when onboarding people that are fresh out of school because there’s a good chance that they’ve never been on a real-world worksite.

Competence Assessment

VR simulations can also be used to assess the competence of a new worker without risking injury to them and others, or damage to your equipment and the facility. This is especially important when dealing with potentially hazardous power tools, welding machines, and heavy equipment.

LevelUp VR

More importantly, people–especially young people–find that VR training simulations are more engaging than traditional training methods, such as videos and standard pictures. Higher engagement during training means that employees will retain more of the information for future reference. When instructional material is dry and dull, people tend to tune out. VR-based training manages to grab your attention.

Interactive VR

Bit Space Development can also create fully rendered, room-scale VR experiences (that allow you to move around and use your hands), which include interactive environments and objects. These simulations offer a deeper understanding of the work environment, and they enable users to experience real-world safety scenarios so that they can be prepared in the event they experience an incident at work.

We can tailor room-scale simulations for any use case. For example, some of our previous work includes building a welding simulator that consists of a physical prop that emulates a welding torch. We’ve also made simulations that help familiarize people with dangerous power tools, such as saws and grinders.

Make VR part of a Well-Rounded Training Regiment

Training in virtual reality has many benefits, but it’s not a be-all-end-all solution. VR Training simulation is an excellent tool for people who learn best by getting their hands-on. Some people need a tactile experience to retain information, and interactive VR simulation is the perfect tool for that type of person. Not everyone learns this way, but there are so many hands-on learners out there that it’s a good idea to offer these types of training solutions for the up and coming workforce.


Winnipeg VR – Explore The City

Winnipeg VR title

Winnipeg VR - Explore The City

Over the past several months we have been working on a 360-degree video experience with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce called Winnipeg VR. This experience takes you to multiple different businesses including some well know, and some new businesses that show our diverse business ecosystem here in the prairies.

Some of the businesses included in this app:

  • CN Rail
  • The City of Winnipeg
  • Frescolio
  • Mere Hotel
  • The Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Save on Foods
  • Across The Board Cafe
  • Vera Chiropractic
  • The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada
  • North End Family Center
  • Lennard Taylor Design Studio

When we initially approached the chamber to talk about the potential technology we had very loose guidelines on how we needed to produce this application. We wanted to give them creative freedom over whom to include, as long as they had a good role to play in the application.

The Technology

We shot the content using a couple different cameras. All of the content is in 360-degree photos and video. The cameras we used were:

  • Ricoh Theta S - Great for shooting large areas quickly, like the CN Rail Training Facility
  • Samsung Gear 360 (2017) - This camera we actually got later on, it shoots great photos and uses HDR. We used this for our outside locations like with the Blue Bombers.

Supported Devices

360-Degree Content

  • Supported
  • Android Smartphones
  • Apple iPhone
  • Apple iPad
  • Unsupported
  • Android Tablets

VR Content

  • Supported
  • Android Smartphone (with accelerometer & gyroscope)
  • Apple iPhone 5 and Up
  • Unsupported
  • Android Smartphone (without accelerometer & gyro)
  • Apple iPhone 4S and older

VR Viewer

  • Supported
  • Google Cardboard
  • Plastic Cardboard Compatible Devices
  • Unsupported
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive
  • Gear VR
  • Daydream VR


We are currently working on future plans for the technology. For now, this application is a good example of businesses coming together and utilizing technology to build something of cultural significance.

Eventually, we would like to turn this into a framework for creating tourism focused VR applications. There are limitations to 360 videos and photos, but until better technology like photogrammetry becomes more accessible. We don’t want to create something the average user can not handle.


You can download the app onto your smartphone, you do require a Google Cardboard enabled VR HMD to operate.

Registration Process

  1. Registration with Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
  2. BSD will set up an appointment with you for a shoot day
  3. Upon scheduled day, BSD will come to your place and shoot for content.
  4. BSD will finalize the shots and publish on app.

Shoot Day

What to expect?

Team will arrive with 360 cameras on location

– We will shoot your space in high resolution 360 images

– Images will be embedded in the application.

You will provide a high resolution logo

You will provide a paragraph of info about your organization and some interesting facts


How long does it take?

Photoshoots take roughly 30 – 45 minutes depending on your location and how prepared you are.

Who owns the images?

The content generated for the app currently is owned by you, this may change in the future as the app evelolves but current content will not be repuposed for future applications. 

Can i have the content?

Unfortunately, no. The content is specific to the application. However, if you wish to schedule a 360 content shoot for other purposes, you can contact us at 

Do i need a vr headset to view?

No. The Winnipeg VR app is accessible through most smartphones without a VR viewer. 

Who can download this app?

The application is free, and available from the iOS and Android app stores. Anyone with a modern smartphone can use the app. 

What is the cost to participate?

There is an annual license of $240 ($20/month) to have your business featured in the Winnipeg VR application. License fees are handled by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

How much does the 360 photo shoot cost?

Bit Space Development charges a one-time $100 fee for the photo shoots for the Winnipeg VR application. This price does not reflect our standard photo shoot price. It is a special price for Winnipeg VR participants. 

Who has my data?

The Chamber of Commerce handles all billing information. BSD does not store or use this data at all. 

The application does not store any personal data, and participation in the app does not put you on any mailing lists.


For any inquiries please email

BSD’s official website:

Winnipeg VR App official website:

Trades Town – An educational game about trades

Trades Town game

Trades Town - An Educational Game About Trades

Trades Town game

Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) aims to promote and coordinate the development of a diverse, inclusive, well-educated workforce in support of careers of choice in a dynamic and evolving construction industry.

This year, MCSC team wishes to create a fun-to-learn experience for kids and younger student groups to generally learn about different trades, which contributes to their knowledge and consideration of future career.

Game Idea

MCSC and Bit Space team have been working together to come up with a game idea that simulates one of the most popular board games ever – Monopoly. We believe such a board game can stimulate players’ learning by great interactions. On the one hand, it is fun to play with multi-players; and easy to absorb knowledge on the other hand.

Trades Town Game Description

The Trades Town game is similar to the Monopoly board game. Up to 4 players compete to take over the town with their knowledge of the trades industry! Build your workshop by moving around the board and collecting all 6 of the industry icons: Wood, Metals, Electric, Machines, Pipes and Mud/Concrete.

Players can learn about 17 different careers in the trades industry such as Welder, Tilesetter, Plumber and Carpenter. Each career is detailed with important information to get players started on the road to thinking about the trades including salary range, future outlook, and apprenticeship requirements.

Cruise through the Career Prospect Pages to study each career outside of the game action, including videos of people who work in that trade and their experience on the job. Small town domination is just a click away!

Target Players

It is a board game application intended to teach kids grade 4 and up about the trades in Manitoba.

It features information and animations for a variety of different industries.


  • 6 Factions

    Wood, Metal, Machines, Electricity, Pipes, Mud/Concrete

  • Multiple Locations

    5 spots per faction

  • Multiple Questions

    30 total question tiles per game 5-ish questions per faction (around 52 possible questions)

  • Randomization

    Randomized board faction placement

  • Multiplayer

    Playable and fun with 1 to 4 players

  • Fact Sheets

    Fact sheets are directly tied to the question (to reduce the amount of facts written to each fact sheet)

  • Embedded Media

    Audio/Videos are also embedded.


New Features on Roadbuilders Safety Training

New Features on Roadbuilders Safety Training

RoadBuilders Safety Training

Roadbuilders Safety Training (RSTS) is a 16-module training course for Roadbuilders to learn and get more practice on safety training at the work site. The training app is powered in Virtual Reality that requires a VR Headset and a controller.

New Features

  • Naratives

    RSTS gameplay has been enhanced with narratives

  • Instructions Arrow

    Arrows guide learners to their next objective to keep the course on pace and on topic

About Roadbuilders Safety Training

WORKSAFELY, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association is dedicated to increasing safety in the industry. The Workplace Safety and Health Act and Regulations provide legal controls for the many hazards you will face. The heavy construction industry also has control measures in place to protect your safety.

Hazard assessment provides this assurance of safety. A hazard assessment is the identification of a safety or health hazard with communication of implemented control measures. A hazard assessment must be completed before beginning each job and at regular intervals thereafter. Your supervisor is responsible for ensuring it is done. He or she must also request input from you if you are available.

When the hazard assessment is completed, the supervisor must review it and clearly describe the control measures that ensure it is complete safely. That is why you attended a safety orientation on the first day of work and why safe work practices and safe job procedures are reviewed with you to ensure your competency.

VRSafety – The New Way To Learn

vr safety title card

Virtual Reality is a new medium, it is more than just an entertainment tool. VR allows us to send users to places they can’t physically travel to because they are dangerous on inaccessible. What if we could train you on the hazards of a job before you actually set foot on site, but by putting you there?

With our VRSafety platform, you can! 

The 'VRSafety' App



Injuries Statistics from 2014 – 2016

(related to head, eyes, hand and foot injuries)

  • Trucking – 731
  • Heavy construction – 491
  • Building construction – 2095

Of these there are 2883 that are reported to have lost time at work because of their injury. This is costing industry big bucks.

*Data was provided by SAFE Work Manitoba and Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba


With the current astonishing facts and figures about serious safety issues in construction industry, we came up with an app idea that leverages Virtual Reality in safety training. With Virtual Reality, the training experience is immersive but very hands-on as the content is taken from the real job site, and is simulated in a 360-degree environment. By this, learners are totally placed in a real construction site that enhances their discovery, learning and safety practices.


VRSafety is our customized platform for 360-degree photos and videos. They are an engaging and immersive type of media content which has gained popularity in recent months with the likes of Facebook, Google and Youtube. It allows the viewer to move around the camera without limits, giving them control of what they see.

Our VRSafety platform is special, as we can add “hotspots” in your 360-degree panoramas. These are like the links between different types of media in one panorama. This can make your content not just a normal panorama, but a port of various information that viewers can see.

Its applications

  • Travel to job sites virtually
  • Cost effective solutions for businesses to implement awareness training
  • Adaptable for any classroom training
  • Dynamic deployment options
  • Scalable design for businesses
  • Integrated assessments

 Current Features

  • Easily built using a single JSON file and a folder of pictures
  • Support for multiple VR platforms
  • Integrated SCORM compliance for web embedded simulators
  • Narration support for limited literacy
  • Integrated quizzing for assessment


‘Hotspots’ is an incredible feature that can enhance the interactive VR experiences. Hotspots are the spots that contain a link to a different media type. When you gaze at a hotspot in your headset, you can gaze through to next piece of content. With our VRSafety, you can add various types of media by hotspots that can enrich your VR content for training or in the classroom.

  • Image hotspot
  • Flashcard
    • Similar to image with hidden text behind for studying
  • Text hotspots
  • Audio hotspots
  • Transition
  • Video


The VRSafety App can be applied on most of the current VR platforms, including:

  • Google Cardboard
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Google Daydream
  • Oculus Rift
  • Oculus Gear VR
  • HTC Vive
  • Microsoft VR
  • Microsoft Hololens

* We have Non-VR enabled build support for iPad and the web.

Fossil Discovery Adventure App – Press Release May 25th

Fossil Discovery Banner

Fossil Discovery Adventure App - Press Release May 25th, 2017

For Release May 23rd, 2017 – Launch Event Details Follows Release Text

Click here for our Electronic Press Kit



You’re invited to the official unveiling of the Fossil Discovery Adventure app at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. Representatives from CFDC, ZenFri and Bit Space Development will be on hand to answer questions, and demonstrate the app.

Be one of the first to experience the innovative augmented reality fossil hunting app first-hand in its proper context, or vicariously through the eyes of our school-aged VIP guests who will also be experiencing the app for the first time!

When:  Thursday, May 25th from 11:30am-12:30pm

Where: The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

               111-B Gilmour Street

               Morden, Manitoba, Canada

If you’re unable to make it out, but are still interested in covering the launch we can make arrangements to show the app privately at the offices of Bit Space Development in Winnipeg. Please make arrangements in advance.


New Augmented Reality App Transforms Manitoba’s Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre into an Interactive Fossil Collecting Adventure!

Morden, Manitoba (May 25th 2017) — With today’s official launch of the “Fossil Discovery Adventure” App, visitors to Morden’s Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (“CFDC”) will be treated to a first-of-its kind augmented reality (“AR”) fossil hunting experience.

The app allows users to collect AR fossils throughout CFDC by finding digital “dig sites” and applying their knowledge of the exhibits to the app’s built-in trivia game. By answering questions correctly users unlock the tools needed to dig and collect 3D digital fossils. Each fossil uncovered is a digital replica of the CFDC’s Guinness World Record holding Mosasaur (the “T-Rex of the sea”), Bruce. By collecting fossils from all 12 dig sites users can build a complete Bruce skeleton, and bring that skeleton to life in ways never before possible at the CFDC. Visitors can even take the replica home using specially designed posters and t-shirts available in the Gift Shop.

“There is really nothing like this in any museum in Canada and we are thrilled to be on the leading edge of bringing interactive experiences like this into our gallery.” says CFDC Executive Director, Peter Cantelon. “What I like most about this app is that it doesn’t act as a replacement for what’s already here, instead it rewards visitors for exploring the galleries in a more immersive way. To top it off, the app lets users take a digital piece of our exhibits home to share it with friends and family.”

Built as a collaboration between pioneering creative firm ZenFri Inc. (best known for their Canadian Video Game Award Nominated location-based AR game, Clandestine: Anomaly), and the education-focused immersive technology start-up Bit Space Development, the App not only shows that local innovation is built on a willingness to collaborate, but how cutting edge technology can be deployed locally to museums, historic sites and even schools to better engage users.

“What we really love about projects like this, beyond getting to work with amazing prehistoric creatures, is that it re-enforces that fact that there are so many hidden treasures in Manitoba,” said ZenFri’s Chief Executive Artist, Corey King. “If this app brings more people to the CFDC, makes people more aware of the jaw dropping specimens right in our backyard, and most importantly improves their learning experience, well we couldn’t be happier.”

“In all honesty,” Corey continues. “This idea is something we’ve been wanting to do for years, something of a bucket-list project. Our hope is that it opens people’s eyes to what’s possible in the museum, tourism and educational spaces, because we know this can be pushed much, much further.”

“I think this is only the beginning of where we can take things,” Peter notes. “The early feedback from our pre-release testing has been extremely positive. It’s amazing what these folks did on the budget we had. We’re already discussing what’s next, and actively exploring a variety of technologies and ways to expand the CFDC beyond our physical boundaries — it’s a very exciting time.”


The free app is available on Google Play and the App Store, and will be a permanent addition to the gallery.

Check out for more details.