Hello. You are reading. Take a look around. When you are not in nature, nearly everything, really everything, was once an idea in the mind of a human being. You are reading, probably sitting on a chair, MFN on a desk, folders in the board at the wall.
You see more things on your desk, maybe a keyboard, a monitor, a mouse, the device with which you are stapling papers together. Every single thing was once an idea in someone’s mind. The whole room around you was once an idea, something not material. You are constantly surrounded by a whole universe of materialized human ideas. People are talking about ideas, exchanging ideas, improving ideas. Before humans decide to realize something, they tell their buddies about the new thing in their mind, “Do you think that might work?“. After you described a technical idea you would like to draw and sketch it in order to communicate it even further.
Human beings are very cooperative herd animals with extremely weak bodies in comparison to any other animal out there. Thousands of years ago, they had to share their thoughts in order to survive. When you place a single homo sapiens into the jungle, he will die, for sure. When you place a hundred of these sapiens into the jungle, everything around this group has a life struggle.
When ideas become more complex than “attack left or right“ and “good food on a day’s march away“, the means of language are very limited. We need pictures to clarify the things in our head. From animal paintings in the caves of Chavet 36.000 years ago to the hieroglyphs in Egypt 5.000 years ago, there were signs and pictures that helped us to become what we are now today.
The Cheops pyramid would not have been possible without drawings on papyrus. Even today the architectural power of this building is more than impressive. We do not know for sure if the Romans were the first to use sketches in 3D for their buildings, but everyone knows the famous drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.
This man had painted technical ideas far ahead of his time. If he would not have used 3D sketches, even the most imaginative contemporaries would never ever understand what kind of partly weird and insane thoughts were in the mind of that genius.
Or did you really think a normal human being could have grasped the idea of a helicopter in 1520?
It took a very long time until the dream of every engineer or better, of every creative human being became true, as 3D computer-aided design was not introduced until the 20th century, empowering industries worldwide to better create and develop products of all kinds.
People could now visualize in the shortest time their most complex construction ideas, using the power of copy and paste ideas of their teams, combining work, to see more potential with less mistakes.
So far so good. Anyone who has never seen and felt an immersive Virtual Reality experience can hardly grasp the potential of a further improvement for 3D creation. Before VR, you could watch, zoom and interact with 3D models on large computer screens. You could visualize every tiny angle in seconds and with no cognitive cost by using your strong right or left hand and your fingers on your mouse.
Most of you have used that “mouse-device“ far more than 10.000 hours in your life, which means that this tiny little thing is not just a mouse. It is so common that your brain has hard-wired the click interactions of your fingers like a professional piano player has educated the agility of his left hand to the utmost level.
Once very early in the morning after a long working night, when I had a little accident in my kitchen and the full hot coffee cup was on its way in the air down to the floor, my mind produced a thought of “click undone quickly“, “click undone – immediately“.
What seems like a little craziness is the effect of our learning brain to make effective use of templates. The Computer-Screen-Mouse-Interaction of office humans has become so common and integrated in our daily work that most of us might have the feeling that this is the best and the final way of creating things. But it is not. Virtual and augmented reality computing is coming.
VR and AR technologies have a long history, since 2019 Gartner is no longer listing these technologies in their Hype Cycle for emerging technologies, because they are ripe, not fully productive, but ripe:
Spaleck Oberflächentechnik has made its first virtual steps in 2018. In 2020, the manufacturer of mass finishing equipment has established a virtual show room to display the most complex and largest mass finishing installations build in its own history. An infinite world of ideas and installations on 5 by 5 meters in the real world.
But VR can not just help us to show, but also to understand. Project engineers are now capable of loading themselves into installation plans in order to walk around and to discuss combinations from another perspective, a perspective from within, not outside.
In these times of Covid 19 and travel restrictions, AR glasses are helping to remotely assist technicians and carry out final acceptances with video conferences as if you were “´there”. Spaleck Oberflächentechnik is using the Microsoft Hololens2 successfully since it was introduced to the European Market this same year.
This text is absolutely not capable of conveying the potential of VR. There are many studies to show and describe the advantages. Nobody will understand these studies unless they have not already tried, tested, and used VR by themselves. No picture and no video can transport the idea and create the real understanding of what VR can do -you have to experience it by yourself.
Once an artist described it thus:
“To create in VR is the most original, most primal, most human way of creating things, because you can act like a stonemason, with your full body, grab with your hands, no paper, no screen, just you and your plant.”
by Mathieu Geuting
GmbH & Co. KG, Germany