Virtual reality for design engineers

From: Yakov Horenstein (
Date: Thu Aug 07 1997 - 11:25:26 EEST

> UPI Science News
> MADISON, Wis., Aug. 4 (UPI) - Imagine designing products in
> virtual reality, making modifications in minutes and catching
> glitches long before they cost a fortune on the production line.
> Such an extraordinary "virtual design studio" is taking shape in
> the research lab of Rajit Gadh at the University of Wisconsin,
> Madison.
> Even though direct application may be years off, already such
> major industrial players as Kodak, Texas Instruments, Raytheon,
> Chrysler and Ford are expressing an interest.
> Having taken the entertainment industry by storm, virtual
> reality has also quietly crept into the field of corporate research
> and development. Hundreds of companies - especially in the auto and
> aerospace industries - are employing it in the transition between
> design and production.
> While virtual reality is much harder to use to design a creation
> than to look at the finished product, Gadh is convinced he's onto
> something.
> His team is developing "interface definitions" that help the
> computer recognize voice and movement commands needed for design. A
> second project is modeling product shapes using a high-speed
> geometry program.
> The 60-inch inclined screen in the virtual studio looks much
> like a conventional drafting table. Glasses enhance the designer's
> 3-D view of the images and a glove makes his hand movements appear
> on the screen. With a hand gesture or voice command, he can create,
> modify and move the designs.
> For fleshing out a design concept, the system could be used
> without the complex training needed in computer-assisted design. It
> could allow engineers in remote settings to collaborate more easily
> and immediately.
> Gadh thinks the biggest advantage is speed. Modifying a product
> design could be done in minutes, rather than hours.
> Says Gadh, "Better technology for cars emerges all the time,
> from anti-lock brakes to air bags. If companies can speed up the
> time it takes to incorporate them into new car lines, they gain a
> major jump on competitors." (Written by UPI Science Writer Lidia
> Wasowicz in San Francisco)
> --

Yakov Horenstein
Milano, Italy

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