Immersive Engineering

Immersive engineering is a sophisticated system creates digital environments where designs can be built, used, and serviced before a single part is made. According to Jack Thorthon, Immersive engineering “combines motion capture, virtual reality, and other technologies.”

This technology helps design engineers enter new territory and possibilities without accumulating additional expenses and cost associated with errors and failures. It is important because it helps the design of goods and services process immensely by identifying engineering issues such as product design to manufacturability, assembly, quality, productivity, lifecycle costs, maintainability, and ergonomics.

The benefits of this technology include the following:

  • Allows engineers to troubleshoot any design engineering issues early in the design phase, well before designs are approved.
  • Digital models made well before product launches, therefore modifications are far less costly.
  • Humans are highly visual. This technology helps improve the decision making process
  • Allows any product to use immersive decision making at any point in its life cycle of the product, as a result the technology is highly flexible.

How does this technology work?

“To prepare an immersive engineering simulation, tasks under study are performed or mimed by technicians and workers who wear a couple of dozen spherical reflectors or markers that enable the digital replication of their body movements — motion tracking. Whether attached to tight-fitting body suits or just mounted on heads and hands, markers locate and orient each joint in 3-D space and capture its movement for replay in the virtual world of an immersive simulation.
All the movement, up to six people working in sync on a complicated task, is captured and tracked by digital video cameras. Software sorts out and analyzes the overlaps in the digital images, then calculates object positions and human motion for use in additional simulations.”

  • This technology allows engineers to determine how a task can be done most effectively, given the environment that is given (i.e. workspace clearances, workers’ reaches, sequencing and pacing). These variables all affect manufacturing variability and quality.

Currently, this technology is used in designing aircrafts, auto, and space system. Many car manufacturers have adapted immersive engineer because it reduces human errors.  It is also less physically stressful on workers. Furthermore, the benefits include fewer injuries, lower cost of tooling changes, higher quality, and faster time to market.

As a result of these benefits, industry leaders such as Ford Motors Co. and Lockheed Martin Co. have quickly adapted to the technology. These industry leaders use immersive engineering to eliminate and uncover the potentially troublesome issues early in the design phase; therefore, they achieve better quality control in during the mass production phase of the product.

As stated by Richard Lee Storch et al,

“Immersive engineering doesn’t change the basic quality. That is still about getting the product, whatever it may be, made exactly to the customer’s specification, on or under budget and delivered on time with no glitches or snags. Immersive engineering allows everyone involved to see and understand what’s going on, spot problems, and recommend solutions across the broad spectrum of manufacturing—productivity, manufacturability, life-cycle costs, and ergonomics.”

In conclusion, immersive engineering is a great technology which allows manufactures to have a better image of their product before the product is produced. As a result, manufactures can spot on errors or failures of the parts of the product before it is produced. As a result, it reduces human error, lowers costs, and achieves a better quality control on product.

Exam Question:

What is Immersive engineering?

References:

http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.kwantlen.ca:2080/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=ab6c102c-901c-4f80-80c3-837c0a22d80b%40sessionmgr111&vid=12&hid=106

http://www.qualitydigest.com/inside/quality-insider-article/virtual-reality-meets-quality.html#

http://www.motionanalysis.com/html/temp/lockheedHIL.html

http://www.processexcellencenetwork.com/six-sigma-quality/articles/virtual-reality-and-six-sigma-a-manufacturer-s-dre/

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One response to “Immersive Engineering

  1. Interesting article you’ve got there… and I suppose you also know that this technology is currently being used by NASA, military training, hospitals, to even virtual warfare…

    However, let me challenge you with two questions. How long does it take before this technology can become used by SMEs. It seems that, even though very good use, it is too expensive to become practical.

    If they are to become consumer-ready, what other uses can there be besides playing the Sims or ignoring the physical distance during communications?

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