Virtual Reality Systems Go Mobile
VIRTALIS, a UK leader in Virtual Reality (VR) and simulation technologies, has supplied the expertise and equipment that’s enabling the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s MANufacturing Technology TRAnsporter (MANTRA) to have the first ever mobile Virtalis StereoWorks ActiveWall system. MANTRA is a specially modified demonstration HGV that travels the UK demonstrating the latest manufacturing, machinery and simulation technologies.
“Transferring industry ready manufacturing solutions to companies as quickly as possible is a vital component to maximising the UK’s manufacturing competitiveness,” says Research Director of the AMRC, Professor Keith Ridgway. “Using MANTRA and the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of the Virtalis StereoWorks ActiveWall system, we can demonstrate to businesses how VR technology can help achieve a smooth integration of new technologies into production environments.”
Although MANTRA is primarily designed as a technology demonstration and transfer tool for businesses, an equally important use for it is inspiring young men and women to become the next generation of engineers. On board the 14 metre lorry, AMRC engineers are using the eye-catching, interactive capabilities of the StereoWorks ActiveWall system to give students of all ages the experience of assembling, design reviewing and rehearsing the maintenance of a multi-million pound Rolls-Royce jet engine. The immersive qualities of VR bring students face to face with the real life challenges encountered by engineers every day.
MANTRA was funded with an award of £500,000 from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) 2007 Knowledge Transfer Challenge, which rewards and celebrates innovative approaches to supporting knowledge transfer in universities, making sure that research finds its way to end users in business and the public sector. AMRC saw VR as a key technology to show case. Virtalis is Europe’s leading Virtual Reality (VR) company and has been a sponsor of AMRC since 2006 and is also involved in all AMRC projects involving a simulation element.
AMRC is a £100 million partnership of the University of Sheffield and over 40 partner companies, which builds on the shared scientific expertise and technological innovation of the world’s leading aerospace companies and research within the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering.
Virtalis StereoWorks ActiveWall systems offer stereoscopic 3D viewing, from real-time interactive VR or pre-prepared stereo movies and enable full depth perception with movements tracked accurately. The StereoWorks range consists of the latest stereo viewing hardware coupled with the Virtalis’ own specialist software suite, StereoTools.