A new breakthrough in 3D solutions makes it possible for companies to connect distributed teams, reduce travel costs, and allow instant collaboration—with a single click. The Immersive Collaboration Experience (ICE), part of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, allows multiple individuals working in CATIA to seamlessly move from the CAD program to “touring” the 3D design in virtual reality (VR).
What sets CATIA’s ICE functionality apart from other solutions used in the industry is its complete integration into the 3D platform. An individual can work in CATIA, message a collaborator through the 3DEXPERIENCE system, and send a co-review invitation. Both collaborators put on headsets, pick up wands, and simply click to launch the collaborative VR experience. Unlike other arrangements where moving from a 3D design to a VR solution can require multiple pieces of software and a file conversion process, ICE requires only one click to move from a CATIA 3D design to VR and back again. In addition, ICE works for all data brought into the CATIA platform—whether original designs, imported CAD files, scanned data, and simulation results.
Even better, design changes made in CATIA appear in the VR environment in real-time, meaning one collaborator can exit VR and make a quick change, which the other collaborator can see and comment immediately. The system is optimized for two collaborators—both will have avatars in the VR scene, and ICE can run on either cloud or on-premise sessions—but as many as four individuals can participate in the VR session, and each will have his or her own user ID.
When participants are in the VR session, they have a full range of movement in the virtual 3D space—allowing for enhanced communication with natural gestures. “Goto” commands allow users to teleport to any location in the scene, including another collaborator’s view. When that happens, or any time one participant’s view gets close to that of another participant, avatars are “ghosted” or made invisible, so they don’t block the view of the model.
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The VR solution also works smoothly with other components of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, such as the visual experience content collection (VCC), which has recently been enhanced to offer more out-of-the-box options. With VCC, designers have a wide range of materials available to apply to their designs. Mathematical algorithms form the basis of materials including leathers, fabrics, car paint, metals, plastics, carbon fiber, glasses, woods, nature, and stones. VCC also offers a variety of 3D environments that designs can be placed in for the VR session, from interiors such as warehouses to exteriors such as parks and street scenes. Designers can also import their own photos and/or environments to customize the 3D design, with no loss of performance in the VR environment.
ICE is a welcome addition to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s complete and streamlined solution for 3D design. With collaboration and a VR session—complete with realistic materials, textures, and environments—available at any time throughout the design solution via a single click, ICE enables multiple users to experience the same immersive design review in a shared world. The solution brings an enhanced spatial understanding of the product design to extended teams, no matter where they’re located, for faster, more accurate team decisions.