Virtual Design Prototyping & Review

Many years ago an engineer brought a product to a young technician to test. While it had the perfect layout for a radio frequency circuit, it was impossible to install in a rack because of a poorly located connector. Perhaps if the ESI Group’s virtual reality simulation tools had been available, this connector location faux pas would have never happened.

In the above video, Eric Kam, Product Marketing Manager of Immersive Experience for the ESI Group, explains how engineers are using their virtual reality tools to test a product before the first sheet metal is bent or the first plastic is formed. The upshot is a reduction in the risk of bringing a product from concept to general availability.

Kam explains how their IC IDO software allows physical attributes to be added to computer aided design to create a part that can be rendered in a virtual reality environment. As demonstrated in the above video, this allows engineers to understand how parts, such as a 300 pound battery pack, fit together. This becomes extremely important with a complex product, where multiple groups working independent of each other.

Their cloud solution opens up the designs, so that the engineer or the technician or assembly worker reviewing the design does not have to be tethered to a high-end workstation. Kam explains that datacenter-based, Nvidia GPUs perform the mathematical computations and stream video to a relatively low-cost thin-client and associated consumer-grade ((e.g. an Oculus) virtual reality headset. As he points out, this allows product review to occur anywhere and at anytime.

It also opens the door to engineering and manufacturing teams that otherwise might not be able to justify the costs for creating a virtual environment. Kam indicates that the virtual reality environments also allow manufacturers to train service technicians long before they get their hands on a real product, improving quality and safety on big-ticket items, such as wind turbines.

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