Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality meets Engineering

How many times have you read articles claiming that the promise of virtual reality (VR) is about to be realized and that soon we will all be wearing VR devices and exploring new virtual worlds? Is it finally happening?

The major technology players(Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Sony) are already in, with platforms for hardware and content. The projections for this market are big, very big! Virtual reality headsets and content will be “the next mega tech theme” in a market worth more than $60 billion in a decade. In the consumer markets, entertainment and gaming seem to lead the way. NextVR Company provides live virtual reality experiences with broadcast quality. For instance, basketball games delivered in this format give the audience the experience of sitting close to the court next to the sidelines.

While the value of VR for the consumer markets is evident, the industrial market may be taking the lead in adopting and utilizing this technology to develop new ways of interaction with complex graphical data. VR allows companies to test scenarios and designs, and experience products even before they’re made. It allows engineers from multiple disciplines to collaborate while maintaining common understanding. It seems that as more affordable VR devices become available, the demand for solutions that leverage VR capabilities will jump significantly. This opens new opportunities for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and graphical simulation tools that generate the type of content required by these devices. High definition (HD) 3D experience allows engineers to visualize realistic mockups of the products and processes they design and simulate them to a high degree of accuracy. The immersive experience of VR headsets allows wearers to interact with HD engineering data.

For the past several years companies have been working on implementing VR technologies in their processes. Skoda Auto, for instance, established a virtual-reality ergonomics lab. The lab team works with motion capture technology that is integrated with the Tecnomatix applications Jack and Process Simulate Human – human simulation software. This allows Skoda to analyze the feasibility and acceptability of work operations through human simulation.

Another great example is the use of VR by Siemens mobility. The virtual train cabins are rendered with near-realistic dynamic 3D image, including the lightning and the material texture. A fictitious station model is also loaded to present the car / coach in a friendly environment. Alternatively the station could also be a model of a customer’s existing station to enable the viewer to walk through the whole car, walk outside of the car and look in every direction for a real immersive experience.

Siemens PLM Software takes this technological direction very seriously. Together with the technology partners and customers, Siemens is experimenting with various Technologies. Some customers have already built such virtual labs to experiment with the large deployment of these technologies. It seems that Virtual Reality will take time to fully come into our life, but will profoundly change our lives. Are you ready for it?