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Nvidia’s VR design lab opens its doors to designers and developers

MUNICH: NVIDIA HAS ANNOUNCED that it has opened up early access to its Holodeck virtual reality (VR) platform. 

Nvidia Holodeck, first shown off earlier this year, allows designers and developers to build and explore creations in a “photorealistic” collaborative and physically-simulated VR environment. 

For example, using Holodeck, designers will render large and highly detailed models in real-time at life-like scale, which means they can save “significant” time focusing on their designs instead of simplifying complex models to achieve a smooth experience in VR. 

Original, unmodified CAD designed can be imported directly into Holodeck, although it only supports Maya and 3DsMark at present. Nvidia said it expects all CAD packages to be supported in the future. 

The self-styled virtual playground also allows users to collaborate in VR. Globally-dispersed teams can collaborate on the same model together in Holodeck enabling them to bring products to market faster, for example, while also enabling designers to create and interact with robots in the virtual environment.

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The system can also train AI machines, Nvidia boasts, thanks to Holodeck’s realistic simulated environments that enables machines to be deployed more safely, quickly and cost-effectively. 

“We think of Holodeck as the design lab of the future, which means it needs to obey the laws of physics,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during Tuesday’s keynote.

“If you drop something, it should drop in virtual reality. It should allow us to all be in there, from anywhere we are in the world. And if there’s going to be AI in the real world, there should definitely be AI in the virtual world. 

NASA, impressively, has come out as one of Holodeck’s early adopters and claims that the platform has improved the agency’s design process. 

“During our design process, teams of our engineers and scientists work together to imagine an idea, plan a design, create that model, experiment and test that solution, then take time to reiterate and improve the original — all steps that are crucial to mission success at NASA,” said Frank Delgado, lead for NASA’s Hybrid Reality Lab. 

“With Holodeck, we will be able to clearly visualise our models, easily collaborate in a physically simulated environment, and review to ensure the efficiency and safety of our designs.”

Nvidia’s early-access programme is open now to “select” designers and developers, with applications being accepted via the Holodeck website. Those accepted will be sent a Steam key, which Nvidia claims makes it easy to push out updates to those signed up.

To access the platform, you’ll need to be using either a Nvidia 1080 Ti or Titan XP GPU, but Nvidia says it will lower the hardware requirements over time. µ 

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