Immersive Virtual Reality : Engineering Application in
Space Environment Author: Matthew Lau
Supervisor: Mr. John Page, Dr. Nathan Kinkaid
Research Theme: The Digital Future
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Immersive virtual reality is a fast developing technology in which the user is tricked into a computer simulated environment by means of
manipulating the users senses, mainly through sight, hearing and touch. The user will feel his/her presence in the virtual environment rather
than the physical world and hence the user is immersed into a virtual reality. Immersion technology has found its use in different fields
including the gaming, medical and military fields.
Improving textures and physics interaction to enhance realism of the
Integration with other sensory controls such as a data glove that provides
input and feedback
Adding avatars to simulate human interactions
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Investigate the current immersion technology for space engineering
Assess current virtual reality engines based on their suitability for
Explore the effect of immersion experience in stimulating innovative space
Results and Discussions:
o Precise physics needs to be implemented in the engine for meaningful engineering use, in addition quality of the texture significantly affects the realism of the immersed
o Immersion enabled the user to experience the virtual environment and hence allowing a deeper understanding to what the user previously perceived, stimulating
potential innovative designs
o Motion sickness is a major concern due to the disorientation within the immersed space environment
o Most commercially available virtual reality engines are gaming engines, however they are capable of delivering accurate physics required for engineering applications.
o The realism of the immersion experience can be enhanced by integrating with suitable devices depending on the applications
o Engineering software generates models that have better control over physical properties such as dimensions however less capable of applying textures when compared
to models generated from graphics design software
Immersive virtual reality has shown potential in engineering application in a space environment however future
improvements are needed to provide more sense of realism
There is a lack of available engineering virtual reality engines however gaming engines are viable substitutes
The use of immersion has potential in stimulating innovative design due to the users experience in unfamiliar
Despite the many great uses of immersive virtual reality, there has been a lack of engineering
application of this technology.
Currently, immersion technology has trended towards the gaming industry which focused on
graphics more than physics which is the opposite for ideal engineering applications
Space environment is hostile and unknown to many, including engineers thus it is difficult to
enable efficient space design
Figure 5.) Immersion testing set-up
Oculus Rift - Head Mounted
Unity3d Virtual Reality
Figure 2.) CATIA model of
the International Space
Figure 3.) Virtual Reality
Figure 4.) Immersion
testing with Oculus Rift
Figure 6.) Virtual
Environment outside the