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VR Aided Design


Contributors: Diego Ocampo (Preliminary Research)

VR Aided Design

An initial research on how SeaPods 3D CAD design process can benefit from integration with VR solutions.

Brief and conclusions

The are two main areas in which a 3D CAD designer can get help from VR headsets integration:

Designing directly in VR

This is currently too green to be used in professional, accurate and to scale projects. However for quick prototyping and for discussing possibilities with other team members (all in a VR environment) is still something to be considered, there are already some interesting options for putting together quick 3D shapes in a VR environment. Te following are some software products to consider when designing directly in VR.

Gravity Sketch

Gravity Sketch is an intuitive 3D design platform for cross-disciplinary teams to create, collaborate, and review in an entirely new way. Learn more about it here. A cheap (free actually) introduction to this possibility is , it will be free starting Jan 25, 2021 on Steam.


Mindesk allows you to effectively present and review your projects in Virtual Reality. This software product allows a designer to get into the 3D model through a VR device and design details inside the 3D file. Multiple designers and clients can better understand your projects and collaborate. However, Mindesk renditions still need improvement to make them more photorealistic. However, designing 3D models in in Rhino 3D can make the renditions more photorealistic. Mindesk details are available here.

Adobe Medium

Adobe Medium provides you with a limitless VR canvas, so you can sketch ideas out of thin air in any direction.  The inaugural application is available for free. This was formerly called Adobe Oculus Medium and cost $29.99 per month, per user. Adobe Medium details are available here.

Incorporating VR Visualization into your Design Workflow

This is where some engineers and CAD designers are already using VR on a daily basis as part of their workflow. Depending on the 3D CAD software used, there are different integrations available to bring models into a VR view, in real time (you can do changes on the 3D CAD software on your monitor, and see them being applied almost instantaneously in VR).
The most advanced solution for now (because it allows very quick cycles of designing ⇒ visualizing in VR ⇒ adding changes) seems to be but it is expensive. It also allows for using AR to visualize the models in a real location with your iPad, a demonstration can be seen here

Application in Ocean Builders

At the time of writing this, Alessio is building the SeaPod model using Autodesk Inventor, a very popular 3D CAD software.

There are two possible integrations for Inventor for visualization of designs in VR, both expensive:

If the budget eventually allows it, I do think that incorporating VR visualization into the design workflow has the potential to improve the design process: after experiencing your own design in real scale, you might notice problems or needs that were “hidden” when looking at the design on a screen. It also allows others to have a different perspective on the SeaPod design, from the inside and in real scale, and start discussions about improvements.

The whole thing

Research links: 

Software for designing in VR (early stages): ⇒ Industrial design. ⇒ Not very good reviews on steam but it will free to use for individuals starting January 25th, 2021 so maye worth trying it ⇒ Extension of SketchUp. Architectural. ⇒ not very impressive by watching their own promotional videos ⇒ Integrates with existing 3D modeling software like Rinoceros and Solidworks. They offer a free trial

Software for visualizing in VR: ⇒ Plugin for Autodesk Maya ⇒ this seems more to look at the designs than to actually design

For AutoDesk Inventor (what we currently use for the SeaPod 3D CAD) we have the options:

Additional notes

Initially in this document there was a note about checking Matterport 

This is actually a whole different topic that could be great once the SeaPods are deployed and equipped. This allows to do accurate twin 3D models of what the actual SeaPod interior looks like, and can be used later on for promotional purposes. More research can be done in this area to see all the alternatives available.

Project video link: 


This project is being developed as an open-source project with the following licensing: