By Product Manager for NX Rendering @PattiLongwinter
Virtual Reality (VR) has allowed me to fly over the Himalayas on my way to visit Mount Everest base camp. An unsettling experience when you expect to quickly teleport there, but instead find yourself gliding over the mountain range. Without a plane. Despite the surprising mode of transportation, it was an incredible immersive experience complete with beautiful graphics. I can really imagine what it’s like to be there.
Is VR really ready for prime time?
For me, the Everest VR experience illustrates VR technology’s relative maturity, not only in terms of the ecosystem around building incredible VR environments, but the recent strides made in user comfort. Yes, you still need to have someone watching that you don’t walk into a wall or trip over a chair. But there is much less concern today with equilibrium issues, gliding at high altitudes aside.
But what about VR for product design?
While VR provides amazing experiences in terms of entertainment and its ability to take us places 99.999% of us will never go in real life, many people question its functionality for product design. We already have 2D display that gives us a view onto the digital twin. That’s great. Stereo display adds the depth factor. Good as well. But VR gives you that sense of scale you can’t really replicate using either 2D or stereo display. VR can help to communicate a design in an even more realistic way, especially when you add realistic materials and lighting to the mix.
I’ve had extraordinary experiences with VR in the design world now, too. I’ve viewed a rocket from atop its launch service structure, walked around inspecting luxury sports cars, and have operated on a jet engine, cutting away sections and hiding components. VR is a very powerful tool for presenting your designs, whatever you imagine.
Speaking of the jet engine, anyone who attended PLM Connection 2017 in Indianapolis had the chance to try out a demo of NX immersive design review at the HP booth.
Our community manager, Amy Reyes, gave it a spin. She said the ability to see and interact with a model at full-scale as if you were there in person has huge potential for how we will design things in the future.
More realities still to come – augmented reality, mixed reality, and hybrid reality.