Holovis, a leading experience designer, has upgraded the University of Exeter’s VSimulator platform at Exeter Science Park.
Holovis worked on the initial project at the University of Exeter and has now added more capability and functionality to the cutting-edge motion platform. The VSimulator, for which the company also created bespoke middleware and content, studies how people interact with the built environment, in a safe VR space.
The facility at Exeter Science Park in Devon, UK, can be adjusted to meet the testing need of multi-disciplinary research and commercial communities and has applications in the construction, engineering, medical and sport science sectors.
Providing more functionality
Due to the project’s initial popularity, the University requested that Holovis return to add extra functionality, including:
- A set of code libraries and content, allowing researchers and commercial clients to create their own software solutions to control the system, tailored to their specific needs.
- New functionality to allow users to quickly understand its basic controls, increasing speed to competence and shortening research phases.
- Immediate playback of 360-degree video in headsets, in conjunction with movement on the motion platform.
Dr Drew Dunk, Head of Software Development at Holovis, says: “The University of Exeter has been a brilliant partner to work with. We gave them a list of additional functionality which they immediately saw the potential of.
“We are working together to explore even more functionality. We have only just begun to understand the potential and capability of the VSimulator for learning, research and industrial applications. It’s been a great project to work on, and we see our partnership with the university only getter stronger as we bring new technology upgrades to the system in the future.”
A world-beating platform
Professor James Brownjohn, a Structural Dynamics expert at the University of Exeter, and the Principal Investigator for VSimulators@Exeter said: “VSimulators@Exeter is world-beating. I don’t think there’s anything like it on the planet.”
“It’s probably got the most sophisticated virtual reality environment for a group of people working together in a simulated environment on a platform that I know of. Holovis has smoothly managed the process of creating the facility, integrating a unique motion platform, a very large and rare array of force plates, motion capture and virtual reality for up to nine occupants, e.g. in a stadium simulation.
“We have enjoyed working with Holovis, with their highly professional approach and technical skills. The potential real-world impact can be far-reaching – we really don’t know where it will take us. It will be an exciting ride and we look forward to more collaboration with Holovis in the future.”
VSimulators@Exeter opened in 2020 and can be used to link structural movement and environmental conditions. E2M’s motion platform has a range of applications, for example, testing bridge or stadium designs when people are moving on the structure. It can also be used by medical researchers to explore how older people can move safely around specific spaces.
The platform allows up to nine users to be immersed in shared experiences with VR headsets and captures all motion and movement for further analysis.
Earlier this year, Holovis moved into a new purpose-designed HQ in Leicestershire, UK. The 52,000 square foot building is located in Hinckley, famed for being the home town of Triumph Motorcycles.