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By Raymond Kent, Principal, Director of the Innovative Technology Design Group, DLR Group
The ability to design complex things continues to advance at an exponential pace as computing and processing power, communications platforms, and advanced visualization tools permeate design studios at an ever-quickening rate. This is driven not only by the technology advancing, but costs for this technology dropping coupled with aspects of the technology reaching into everyday life through our cell phones, smart technologies, sensors, and more. The ready use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in what was once relegated to testing labs, tinkerer’s garages, and a relatively small segment of the gaming industry has now exploded onto the landscape of everyday tech with the promise to change practice in everything from product design to education to entertainment to architectural design.Designing with the Tech of the Future Currently there are a variety of ways to engage in AR/ VR with a range of price points to match, each with their advantages and drawbacks. For novices, wading into this world can no doubt be a daunting task, but the enticement of the possibilities for collaboration and new design techniques far out way the hesitancy. To make that transition, there are some key considerations when deciding to launch an augmented or virtual reality design project that must be considered: 1. Define Your Objectives Whenever you’re considering use of these technologies, you should establish a clear value-add to leveraging the technology by understanding several key factors to consider before selecting which technology to use. The technology should take a back seat to what actual experience you’re working towards. The goal should always be to tie back to the core mission, brand, or business objective always asking why is using this type of platform necessary, and what do you expect the outcomes to be? 2. Select the Technology Once the objectives are outlined, a review of what the available technology is to meet those objectives. There are many factors to consider: Which makes better sense: augmented or virtual reality? Will an existing technology on premise work? Will it require custom software or off the shelf products to allow the goals to be accomplished? Will multiple platforms be used requiring cross-platform translation? What control devices are required to navigate the environment and what are the limitations for the users? Are there outside design partners with their own technology that may cause compatibility issues? 3. Try before You Buy First-time users are often awestruck when they initially experience new AR/VR technology. It’s exciting to try new things, but sometimes in their excitement, users lose their ability to deliver actionable contributions or feedback.
The Ready Use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in What was Once Relegated To Testing Labs, Tinkerer’s Garages, And A Relatively Small Segment of the Gaming Industry Has Now Exploded Onto The Landscape Of Everyday Tech