Virtual reality engineering company, Virtalis, has released their (self-professed) affordable virtual reality software for CAD engineers. Aptly named VR4CAD, Virtalis are confident their product will bring true virtual reality to the world of engineering. Virtalis' managing director, David Cockburn-Price said:
"VR is finally moving into the every day within engineering. Our high-end Visionary Render Software boasts a blue chip user list, but it is out of the reach of most. Virtalis therefore decided to make an accessible and affordable version that will enable people to take advantage of the falling cost of VR hardware."
Working with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive - already established names in the VR market - VR4CAD gives engineers the ability to walk through a virtual world and see a hypothetical example of what a design might eventually look like in a real world. It is a system that brings designs to life. Virtalis believes that there is a future for virtual reality in engineering.
Through an agreement with the University of Liverpool, Virtalis is showing how Continuing Professional Development programs are being strengthened by virtual reality hardware and software. The equipment supplied by Virtalis will help postgraduates who need further training in "architecture, urban planning, and industrial design".
The VR technology will assist students with staying up to date on a virtual platform that can keep engineers up to date with the latest standards of design. The VR technology allows for experimenting at will without the worry that money is being wasted on multiple physical prototypes for designed products.
Dr. Rab Scott, Head of Virtual Reality and Simulation from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC & Nuclear AMRC) said:
"Virtual reality is one of the few tools that everyone can use throughout the product lifecycle. Whether it's in concept design or design, or design for manufacture, or design for assembly, or design for repair and maintenance, or design for operations."
Engineers can import data and metadata into the program and it can be displayed in a virtual engineering environment. It can achieve graphical representations as detailed as the latest video games, with the latest graphics card technology.
Not only is virtual reality (VR) making its way into engineering circles, but augmented reality (AR) as well. Microsoft has promised that their mixed-reality headset, the Hololens, will be a perfect addition to any engineering workshop.
Autodesk Fusion 360 is can be fully integrated into the Hololens, making CAD designs come to life right before an engineers' eyes. Engineers from all different disciplines will are able to collaborate on CAD designs and the finished product with the Hololens. See the video below to see how it works.
It is revolutionizing civil engineering industries as well. Aecom's President, Stephen Kadenancy has previously said: "With this technology, we can gain clarity earlier in the design review process than with 2D drawings or 3D models on screen, and team members in different locations, each wearing a headset, can simultaneously explore the same holographic projections."
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