We know about try-before-you-buy and keeping the customer happy by letting them see what they are getting up front and in detail before they commit to buying. But what about further back in the design and manufacturing process, when it comes to building prototypes, the viability of which will ultimately determine the final product?
Research and development is expensive, and businesses can face the dilemma between cost reduction and product innovation, especially if they are worried about how much they can commit financially to develop products.
One solution is the growing use of virtual reality to provide environments for prototyping and testing the viability of products.
The Ability to See Inside
“Imagine being able to walk inside an engine to check for any design flaws,” says John Mould, Commercial Manager at Antycip Simulation. “The VR CAVE provides a means of doing this, so that research and development moves from the theoretical to the immersive.”
The CAVE is short for Cave Automated Virtual Environment, a virtual reality space that users can adapt for specific purposes.
“VR CAVES are already used by universities and certain industries for research,” John explains, “but the technology is adaptable for an increasingly diverse range of uses.”
“For specialist areas, such as engineering, the VR CAVE is helping usher in the next generation of manufacturing,” continues John.
“It’s a significant evolutionary leap forward as a design and review aid because it enables users to fully review and assess their designs as if they had already been built”
Virtual reality takes usability to a whole different level, where users can experience things through an immersive, 3D experience, as close as possible to the physical world without it being present.
What are the Business Benefits of VR CAVEs?
“VR can help to transform design and construction processes,” observes John. “You can have a seamless transition from concept to design and then the manufacturing process. For example, if an engineer wants to modify an existing design, they can scan in the original, physical object in 3D, then highlight changes to it in a VR CAVE setting.”
“Manufacturers can repeatedly create virtual prototypes rather than go to the time and trouble of making a physical prototype each time and the VR CAVE provides the means to take a forensic look at them, helping to ensure they will function, as designed”
“In terms of saving on resources and time, VR, offers huge potential for design and manufacturing efficiencies, and for protection from costly errors further down the line,” John concludes.