1. Virtual reality and augmented reality are not only fun toys, but can also be used to enhance and improve operations in various fields of industry and life.
2. In the construction industry, virtual reality can be used in design. For example, virtual reality can be used to view different models as “real” and observe how spaces or lightings fit together. If something does not work, adjustments can already be made during the planning process. This reduces flaws and unnecessary expenses. Augmented reality, on the other hand, can help with the maintenance of buildings. It can be used to locate electric wires or to find out whether the heating system is working. Thus, problems can be discovered in time without having to tamper with the structures. Augmented reality can also give instructions on how to fix damages.
3. Virtual reality can even be used to monitor nuclear power plants. For example, it can be used to inspect spaces within the power plant, which are not safe for humans due to radiation. After such an inspection, a robot can fix the possible problems.
4. The goal of research is to create interactive methods that enable easy and efficient use of virtual reality so that everything goes well and the most necessary information is available at all times. An important factor is multisensory research, which explores how different human senses complement each other and interact with technology. The goal is to make the use of virtual reality as natural and functional as possible.
5. For now, there are no standards for the interaction that takes place within virtual reality; instead, all technology companies have their own solutions. Research is aiming to find the best solutions that could become a part of global standards when the use of virtual reality expands to new fields of life and business.
The director of TAUCHI (Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interaction), Professor Roope Raisamo, was interviewed for this article. Raisamo and specialist Pertti Huuskonen are leading the two-year VARPU research project, which consist of five research institutes and twelve companies and has a funding of eleven million euros. Its goal is to develop virtual reality for the needs of industry and companies via multidisciplinary research.
Text: Hanna Hyvärinen
Photo: Jonne Renvall