I’ve had a few opportunities to play with the Oculus Rift head-mounted VR display over the last year or so, but most of the demonstrations I’ve tried have focused on gaming applications. On the other hand, Ford is using this technology to help designers visualize the interiors and exteriors of new vehicles.
The demonstration, which used a combination of a rare full HD prototype of the Oculus Rift goggles, along with VRED industrial design software from Autodesk allows wearers to sit in a full-scale virtual model of a vehicle.
When wearing the Rift, your can sit inside the vehicle and look around to see every minute detail of the car or truck’s interior, and you can also look at it from outside.
While the demonstration I tested out didn’t let you actually walk around the vehicle, the version being used at Ford’s Design Center is capable of this.
Even if virtual reality doesn’t provide the tactile feedback of working with clay models or prototype vehicles, it does permit designers to test out vehicle layouts at very early stages, as well as to quickly test modifications. As the Oculus Rift continues to improve, and gets closer to a final commercial build, I can only imagine these sort of simulations getting more and more realistic.