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February 13, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:09pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Virtual reality company Division Group Plc reckons for the first time it will offer end user applications that enable manufacturing companies to significantly reduce the time and cost of building prototypes, with the launch of a modular product suite dVISE 4.0. dV/Review enables designers and engineers to review the design of complex products that involve multiple components in complex assemblies. Users can pick up parts and move them around, control animated assembly or disassembly to establish how the individual parts interact and create assembly sequences. The software is fully integrated with major Computer Aided Design packages, so that CAD data can be used directly in the dVISE package. Division chief executive Charles Grimsdale says the CAD systems do not enable the total assembly of all individual parts, and often makers of individual components never get to see other components at the early design stage. This product enables them to work with all the other component designers and prevents modeling in isolation. Users can leave virtual post-it notes on components, which are then sent by electronic mail to the appropriate designer. Once the product is built, the user can create an interactive training manual showing how to assemble or disassemble it. It can be used by a single user, or collaboratively over a network or ISDN lines, so that designers in different parts of the world can work together on one design. dV/Mock UP then enables them to create and interact with a full-scale virtual product in real-time. It can be run to understand how parts will move together, to assess maintenance tasks, to detect collision between components. Grimsdale says the new suite enables companies to make virtual products available to a wider audience. dV/Pilot is a low end Internet player available as a plug-in to the major browsers, that would enable for example a customer to see the completed three dimensional model of his product over the Internet. dV/Player is a fully featured Internet player for larger and more complex assemblies, and dV/Reality enables the user to create fully functional simulations. Grimsdale says this is a natural progression for the company. Five years ago, he said, it was providing an immature technology. Three years ago it focused on the manufacturing market, providing virtual reality toolkits, and now it is offering full blown end user applications to this market. The company has yet to make a profit, although it has been forecasting going in to the black this year (CI No 3,088), but it hopes that the new products will open its business to a far wider market. The company currently reckons 45% of its business is in the US, 40% in Europe and 15% in Asia Pacific. dVISE 4.0 runs on a variety of systems from high end Silicon Graphics Inc workstations in fully immersive mode, to Intel Corp-based personal computers running Windows NT. The low end Internet player dV/Pilot is available free. dV/Player costs 1,500 pounds, dV/Review is 4,800 pounds, dV/MockUp is 10,000 pounds and dV/Reality costs 13,600 pounds.

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