Using augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) or virtual reality (VR) in engineering or manufacturing is still in its infancy. Whilst there are large Automotive, Aerospace and Defence companies already using VR Caves or Powerwall’s, most organisations are just starting to figure out if, and why, they need the technology. Following a two-part event in Coventry, Theorem Solutions has launched the Digital Realities app in the hope of accelerating the adoption of immersive technologies in these industries.
“Virtual reality has already been used commercially for over 30 years, but in expensive Powerwall’s and Caves, and is driven very much by niche suppliers in the engineering space. Therefore, even for companies with deep enough pockets, the availability and access to it is very limited,” observes Stuart Thurlby, Theorem Solution’s CEO. “The use of the new wave of VR devices, along with new devices for AR and MR technology, is beginning to gain momentum in the commercial world.”
Consumer use is being driven by a very different requirement; it isn’t the engineering and manufacturing world, but the videogaming and social media world. It is the immediacy of these industries which have driven the development of the new technologies, and although gaming itself has been around for 40 years or so, VR, AR and MR devices are relatively new. Conversely, engineering and manufacturing involves complex processes which results in relatively slow adoption of new technologies.
Whilst the technology and price points are compelling, how to use it and determining which processes to change takes time. This could result in the immersive technologies market for engineering and manufacturing taking much longer for develop, with Theorem Solutions suggesting 12-18 months.
“Both Theorem, with our visualisation experience, and the engineering and manufacturing organisations we are marketing it to, are ‘early adopters’. We are trying to determine the best use cases for these new technologies and at the same time working out what the return on investment will be,” Thurlby explains. “Although there are companies who offer VR, AR or MR solutions for use in engineering or manufacturing, Theorem are one of the first to offer a solution for all three technologies.
“Our solution means that the CAD and PLM data only needs to be prepared and optimised once, but can then be used on AR, MR and VR devices, allowing flexibility and freedom of choice.”
The Digital Realities application currently supports AR for Windows 10 and Android tablets and smartphones, MR for Microsoft HoloLens and VR through the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. More information is available Theorem Solutions’ official website, and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest immersive realities developments for engineering and manufacturing.