Virtual protoyping and design review

Anyone from you guys are using virtual reality for your product reviews?
We are exploring in using this instead of machining high density foam for our product reviews.

We probably can retain the low density foam models for size verification and other usability validation.

Few questions:
Will VR save cost compared of having a high density foam models?

We did a couple a few years ago. One for an airplane interior and one for an architectural project. Back then it was pretty expensive, almost as much as building a full size mock up. My take from it is that even though it is awesome to walk into your virtual design, I’m not sure it provides a lot more information than traditional renderings, animations and mock ups. You also can’t touch or feel anything. It almost felt like a WOW tool just to sell an idea to high level executives.
Look into the cost and what you expect to gain from it that you cannot get from renderings and models.

Interesting that the cost was that high. These days, anybody with a free copy of Unity and an Oculus can build a VR environment, the barrier to entry has dropped tremendously and for large scale mockups, I don’t see how you could compare.

For traditional handheld product design, it is probably more gimmicky and less useful than a model or 3D print, but for large scale environments the ability to get a sense of scale and presence is huge.

We don’t do it as a process, but mocked up the virtual interior of a police car as an example and it was pretty compelling.

We did it 6+ years ago so I’m sure cost has gone down and technology has vastly improved.
It was awesome to walk into the airplane interior we designed but I don’t remember it being helpful in the design process or justifying the cost. Our client was thinking of installing a cave in their facilities and also felt the same way.
It would be a great tool to sell different interior configurations for different airlines. As technology improves and cost comes down I think it will definitely be useful for the transportation industry and large scale environments like Cyberdemon mentioned.
For smaller projects I still think a physical model would be more helpful and provide more feedback.
I think your best bet is to figure out how much your foam models cost and what you use them for, what kind of feedback you get from them. Then contact the VR company and ask them to give you a demo using one of your products and then ask for pricing. Once you experience the VR model ask yourself how it could be used during the design development process.

Ah, yes tech from back then was a different beast.

The VR experience you can replicate today with a Google cardboard and smart phone pretty much makes the old SGI Cave tech look like VHS compared to DVD, and the rate of innovation and ease of use will skyrocket this year with the commercial launch of the Oculus.

Who knows, with haptic gloves we may be able to “feel” virtual things sooner than we think.

We have actually had several clients in the very recent past (last 6 months) come to us about VR capabilities. We have started rendering out samsung VR, cardboard, and Oculus rift programs to show off floor plans and products. It really doesnt do anything for the product, but it adds the “wow” factor that can help people leave with a better experience than just staring at a render on paper/screen. I think this is similar to car dealerships investing in their space. The nicer the dealership, the better the cars look (leads to more vehicles sold). And the technology is finally coming into a price point that will make it open to anyone.

Also, I found this to be interesting. Stilla bit cost prohibitive and Im not sure yet on the technology, but it looks like we are starting to step into the full imersion realm: Kickstarter Im really curious as to the sensation, and if it has enough ‘zones’ to be believable.

I have not had the need to get into VR for any of our projects, but I’m curious as to what everyone else thinks about augmented reality technology like Microsoft HoloLens ( versus a fully rendered VR room. It seems like it has potential for products that need to interact with the environment or other objects and possibly for laying a design over the basic physical skeleton of an environment or product. This might allow both physical interaction with the basic form and the presentation of a more completed design at the same time. It looks like it could be more of an investment and more work though.