VR could be about to change product design forever

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man using virtual reality gadget computer glassesVirtual reality (VR) is the next big thing according to technology evangelists. But it is unclear what kind of impact the visualisation technology will have on our everyday lives.

Some of the more puritanical believers say that VR will shape our lives even more than smartphones, particularly when the hardware starts to improve. Others, however, some think VR will stay as quite a niche enterprise – only used and understood by a few tinkerers.

One of the more niche uses, but one that is becoming more popular is VR design work.

Creators in all sorts of fields – from architecture to electronic product design – are using VR as part of their creative process.

The technology offers a completely new way for designers to look at problems and a space to test new ideas. These new opportunities can provide a new perspective and allow for fresh sparks of inspiration to shine through.

VR also lets creators evaluate their designs more thoroughly without having to build a prototype.

It is this new possibility space for testing ideas and evaluating designs that appeals to product and board designers.

VR is much less constrained compared to 2D modelling and it allows you to take a much more open view of a project,

New pieces of hardware and software are making VR much easier to handle, and effectively offering designers a completely new tool. Hardware solutions like hand held motion controllers give designers more control, while special computer programmes are being developed for things like architectural design and product design.

At present, we are not aware of any software that specifically focuses on VR for PCB board design, but we would encourage

How does VR design work?

 Virtual reality has the power to make designers ‘godlike’ according to one technology savant.

‘Visual artists,’ as they are known, believe that the technology will fundamentally change design in all sorts of fields.

This video of an architect editing a new block of flats using VR gives an insight into how the technology can be used by designers.

Although electronic product and board designers are not likely to be building anything on the same scale as this architect, it does give a good indication of how the software can be used and what kind of movements designers make to manipulate objects.

We believe that VR will have a huge impact on the future of electronic design. But it is, however, unlikely to make 2D design completely obsolete. Not at this early stage anyway.

Designers will still probably turn to pens and pencils to sketch out their initial ideas. But VR will find a place in the design process.

Board designers may use VR to visualise their schematics before they move onto the prototyping phase. Electronic product designers might use VR at an earlier stage to get a sense for how a product looks when it comes off the page or computer screen.

Product designers will be able to see their products in the altogether. They can see how the various components fit and how it ‘feels’ to hold in your hands.

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