This story is from the category Business
Date posted: 23/01/2007
Room 278 at the Joshi Research Centre, a data-crunching, virtual-reality in Fairborn, Ohio, US, is filled with CAVE VR immersive display rooms, as the falling cost of computer power makes leasing out VR capabilities much more of a valid business proposition.
The $2 million Vis Lab at the Joshi centre that opened in October at Wright State University allows businesses to outsource virtual-reality work without having to buy the technology themselves. Companies pay $1,000 a day to use the lab and its high-powered computers.
This year, a Houston energy company will feed seismic data into the centre?s computers. The company will sink virtual probes through the virtual crust looking for salt domes that may hold oil deposits. That could give the business an idea of where the oil is - or isn't - and save millions of dollars in drilling costs.
"It's reaching a level of maturity," said James Oliver, director of the Virtual Reality Applications Centre at Iowa State University. "And you can get a very compelling virtual-reality system without having a huge, huge budget."
The centre at Iowa State has been used to lay out the floor plans of new factories for maximum efficiency, and to design tractors, cotton pickers, and other farm equipment.
"When you stand in one of these immersive rooms, it's as if you're standing in front of the vehicle itself," Oliver said.
"These experiences help identify design problems with products or work environments that traditionally might not have been noticed until prototypes were built," company spokesman Ken Golden said. "Our vision in VR is to have only one physical build of our products before we move into production."
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