Use of Virtual Reality in Designing Urban Furniture
Virtual Reality does not have to be limited to only being a representation and experiential tool - it can be a powerful way of conceiving objects for our physical world as well. The unique features of this technology revolve around the usage of peripheral devices such as controllers (joysticks) and gloves in tandem with VR goggles. By using this type of modeling, designers can overcome some of the current limitations of the design process such as transitioning from sketch to model, scalability of physical models and manipulation difficulties of computer generated models.
An analysis has been made of the evolution of design methodology and its natural progression to virtual and augmented reality. Traditionally the design process of urban design objects starts on paper is evolved through computer modeling and is later tested via physical models and full-scale prototypes. Virtual reality modeling can significantly optimize this process by merging several of the design development phases into one. Sketching, building and testing can be done fully in the virtual environment and the representation of newly created objects will no longer be limited to a 2D surface such as a sheet of paper or a computer screen. The transition to 3D printing is also streamlined with the outcome of the VR designed object being a clear manifestation of the object created in virtual reality.
The goal of the study is to develop a piece of urban furniture, using a virtual reality headset, joysticks and modeling software, manipulate its features and multiply/scale it within the digital environment. The research question is whether such modeling can be precise enough to not only be used as a sketching and sculpting tool but can become the next frontier after computer 3D modeling. The experiment is carried out in two different parts of the world simultaneously – USA and Bulgaria and conceived and manipulated in real-time. The results are analyzed and the advantages and disadvantages of the approach are compared to current design development tools.
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