Virtalis’ ActiveWall at the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), Sci-Tech- Daresbury, proved to be such a draw to University of Liverpool students and academics that they were keen to have their own Virtual Reality (VR) suite.
Virtalis has recently installed an ActiveMove and Visionary Render software in the new VEC@Liverpool facility, which sits within the Harrison Hughes Building in the School of Engineering.
Lynn Dwyer, business manager at VEC, explained: “The University was keen to establish a VEC@Liverpool on campus, close to the students and where they are developing designs for their final year projects, such as Formula Student and Liverpool Velocipede ARION 1 Land Speed Bicycle challenge. In addition to supporting the undergraduate curriculum and familiarising students with the development of Virtual Labs and VR software such as Virtalis’ Visionary Render software, the VEC@Liverpool was established to support PhD students and researchers to develop bespoke Virtual Labs to assist with their studies and research challenges.”
Although the University’s new Industrial Design programme, offered within the School of Engineering, is expected to be heavy users of the ActiveMove, the VEC@Liverpool VR suite and the team’s expertise will also be shared with other disciplines, such as Psychology and Architecture, whose courses will also be enhanced by virtual engineering, simulation and visualisation.
Owain Pedgley, senior lecturer in Industrial Design at The University of Liverpool, commented: “Industrial design researchers at the University of Liverpool are using Virtalis systems to help design and evaluate interactive elements of product interfaces, such as controls, input devices, displays, and feedback sources. This is seen as a natural extension to using VR for visual product appraisals, and reflects an industry need to simulate, and thus refine, the intended operation and user experience of new design concepts without recourse to physical prototypes.”
The University of Liverpool is in the process of embedding VR into the curriculum. In particular, students will use VR to solve real-life business conundrums as part of the Industrial Challenges which are built into Industrial Design.
“We’re excited that a new generation of students will use our VR software, Visionary Render, in their studies”, said Andy Connell, Virtalis’ technical director. “They will then take their knowledge of VR out into the workplace and who knows what they will design in the future as a result?”