Short Case The virtual reality of design

creepytreatmentAI and Robotics

Nov 14, 2013 (4 years and 11 months ago)


Short Case

The virtual reality of design

Virtual reality, once seen solely as a high
technology arcade entertainment
medium, has established itself as a powerful, three
dimensional professional
design tool, with applications including architecture, car de
sign and the
planning of delicate surgical operations. It gives designers a much clearer
concept of the relative positions of the individual elements than is possible
with static, two
dimensional representations. Perhaps even more importantly,
it also allo
ws others, in particular the non
technically trained user, to visualize
and suggest modifications to the design before any work is done on the
physical entity concerned. An architect can allow a client to roam around the
virtual building, walking along cor
ridors and entering rooms at will. PERA, the
European consultancy, R&D and technology transfer company, uses a ‘virtual
reality centre’ to help its clients visualize the implications of their operations
designs. Powered by a Silicon Graphics Onyx Infinite
Reality supercomputer,
the world’s most powerful graphics supercomputer, the centre offers
visualizations of real
time data.

VR offers significant benefits in industrial applications, from market testing
and design to training and maintenance planning. T
he virtual reality centre
bridges the gap between software vendors and potential users by delivering
tailored applications to address specific needs
,’ says Gary Eves, Business
Manager at PERA.

For example, Barclaycard, the bank card company, has employed
centre technology to let some of its 2500 staff in Northampton walk through
and help design its new offices. Barclaycard staff could view the new building
as it would look, with groups of staff encouraged to give feedback on the
design of the offic
es including floor layout and accessibility.



What are the advantages of ‘visualizing’ operations before they are


PERA’s virtual reality centre cost £2 million using the latest Silicon
Graphics technology. How do you think it justi
fied such an investment?