VR Isn’t Just for Gamers
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on August 13, 2018 |

While the gaming industry definitely holds the largest market share of virtual reality (VR) usage, industries like architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), manufacturing, and product design are starting to reap the benefits of this growing technology as well. While product design may be one of the more recent industries to adopt VR technology, there are definitely a wide range of benefits to VR in product design, including:

-          Bring products to life: Go beyond the CAD monitor and give real scale and spatial context to a design as well as the ability to walk around or within a product.

-          Real-world context: Seeing a product on a screen is one thing, but being able to drop a product like a piece of furniture into your living room to see how it looks with the rest of your décor is way better!

-          Collaboration: Utilizing a room-sized cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE) VR system, which uses high-resolution, stereoscopic projection and 3D computer graphics to create an entire sense of presence in the virtual environment, allows multiple users to become fully immersed in the same virtual experience simultaneously.

So why the slow adoption of VR for industries like AEC, manufacturing and product design? One big reason is that a lot of the tools and development platforms out there are more geared towards gaming. It’s hard to use VR effectively if you can’t find VR applications and hardware that fit your workflows. A recent announcement from WorldViz, however, may mean more VR solutions for industries like product design will be coming.

WorldViz just announced the latest version of its Python-based VR development platform. This new release, Vizard 6, was developed around three main areas: a new third-party VR headset and peripheral support, an easier art workflow that provides support for the glTF 3D model format, and more extensive avatar support using Adobe Fuse CC.

“Vizard continues to show that there is a growing need for VR development tools that target professional audiences with specific research and business needs—needs for which game engines aren’t always the best option,” said Andrew Beall, CEO of WorldViz. “For example, Vizard lets users take advantage of open-source Python libraries that are widely used by the research community, and supports a range of hardware peripherals and tracking tools that aren’t needed in the games and entertainment world. With Vizard 6, we have focused our attention on hardware and graphics, which were the two most requested areas of our audience.”

WorldViz states that Vizard appeals to the R&D community, both in university and business settings, because of its robust development environment for scientific-grade VR. It gives users the ability to build precise immersive experiences that can connect via VR headsets; CAVEs and Powerwalls; head/hand trackers and motion capture systems; and specialty devices such as eye trackers, haptic feedback devices, and biophysiological sensors like EEGs, EKGs and GSRs. With Vizard, users don’t need to be computer programming wizards to start developing, thanks to the Python interface, which is open, straightforward and user friendly.

A multi-project VR experience from Vizard 6. (Image courtesy of WorldViz.)
A multi-project VR experience from Vizard 6. (Image courtesy of WorldViz.)

As for hardware, Vizard 6 now supports all Windows Mixed Reality headsets as well as other new peripherals, including the Manus VR Gloves and Tobii eye-tracking hardware. That’s in addition to the 150+ peripherals, trackers, biofeedback monitors and display types Vizard already supports.

Vizard also addresses graphics in this latest release, and now supports the gITF 3D file format, which helps with rendering. The software also allows for more user-friendly workflow interfaces with Revit, SOLIDWORKS, Maya, Blender, SketchUp, Substance Painter, Modo, and more. It also provides access to over 150,000 models in Sketchfab’s library. Being stuck with only redefined avatars is also a thing of the past with Vizard 6. Avatars created in Adobe Fuse CC are now supported, enabling users to create custom avatars that can then be imported into Vizard.

Products that interface with Vizard 6. (Image courtesy of WorldViz.)
Products that interface with Vizard 6. (Image courtesy of WorldViz.)

Additional features in Vizard 6 include the following:

  • Added support for building collaborative, multiuser VR settings
  • New Vizconnect presets that provide one-click access to a variety of new hardware setups, such as the WorldViz VizBox, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Oculus Touch and VIVE Tracker full-body tracking
  • Real-time data streaming of full-body tracked data using VIVE Trackers
  • Improved model and lighting workflows with Vizard’s integrated 3D model editor
  • Backward compatibility to all Vizard versions

Working in the design field myself, I’m very excited about the prospect of more VR applications for industries like AEC, manufacturing and product design. For more information, please visit www.worldviz.com or contact WorldViz today.


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