Virtual reality isn't just for games anymore
Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new technology that allows us to explore a whole new world of possibilities. Motion-tracking technology in VR allows us to fully immerse ourselves into a particular scenario and allows us to turn our heads and walk around in a new environment just like we would in real life. Many people have heard of VR headsets used for video gaming, but VR technology has also made its way into engineering firms.
VR technology is making big changes to the way companies use 3D modeling. Buildings, construction sites, cars, and factory equipment: all these things can be modeled and viewed using VR technology. Companies are also creating prototypes to show to their manufacturers, customers, and factory workers to ensure that what is being designed will fit their needs.
For manufacturing, VR creates visualizations, for instance, of how far a worker will have to reach to operate machines and allows workers have more constructive feedback for designers. It also allows for virtual training, which can reduce any health risks associated with the job, such as hazardous chemicals or equipment rotating at high speeds.
VR also means designers can show customers exactly how they can interact with their product before a physical prototype is built, changing the way preliminary design reviews are conducted and reducing misunderstandings to result in a more efficiently made product. VR also can create an immersive marketing experience. Not only are people attracted to the novelty of VR, but it allows interactive demonstrations without having sales workers haul the products around with them.
While VR seems like the way forward, it may take more time before the technology becomes more widely used in industry. VR equipment is still a significant investment, and only simplified versions of large models can be used due to the limitations of graphics cards. VR headsets require high frame rates to prevent the user from becoming disoriented. Additionally, there are practically no standards that allow for easy integration with other software. However, these issues are currently being addressed and hopefully, in the next few years industries will be able to use VR to improve efficiency in the engineering workplace.