Believably immersive VR experiences within the mining industry

Justin Magee, Terry Quigley, Peter McGroarty, Peter Craven, Kevin Vallelly

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

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CDE Global, the world's number one wet processing equipment company for sand and aggregates, mining, C&D waste recycling and industrial sands. Ulster University secured a 20-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with CDE Global (£89.9K) to embed design-led methodologies, digital content workflows and VR/AR technologies into traditional heavy engineering industry. Communicating and experiencing such products is costly, time demanding and logistically complex, hitherto, only achievable through real life demonstrations. Believable immersive and empathic experiences are now possible digitally. Full scale precision digital models of several products were developed using bespoke photorealistic digital texture maps, accurate animated machine functions, soft objects and fluidics and particles systems for dusty environements. Digital content was developed using 3DSMAX (Autodesk), Z-Brush (Pixologic), RealFlow, Photoshop (Adobe), Substance Painter (Allegorithmic), and the Unreal4 games engine controlled by the HTV Vive enabling physical interaction with the M5500 product. This research captures customer empathy earlier and reduces the need for machinery exhibit at trade shows, expediting sales. The digital content (including AR/VR prototypes) has been exhibited internationally for example, Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM2017), 3-5th November 2017, Belfast: AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo (2016), 22nd -24th March, Nashville, USA; BAUMA (2016) 11th-17th April, Munich, Germany; Hillhead (2016) 28-30th June, England; ConExpo (2017) 7-11 March, Las Vegas, USA. This KTP was assessed nationally, by Innovate UK, achieving the highest grade of ‘Outstanding’ and received a Certificate of Excellence Award (14th March 2017). It was selected by Invest NI to promote KTP’s, 'Their business in your hands', and for the Digital DNA 2017 showcase ‘Collaborate to Innovate – Harnessing the Knowledge from Universities and Colleges to Transform your Business Through KTP’. It was awarded the Ulster University Knowledge Exchange Impact award (2017). This research partially contributed to impact, improving competitive advantage across eight global sales regions, with sales increasing from £21.1M to £46.3M over this past two years.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCDE Global
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2017


  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • 3D visualisation
  • Digital Modelling

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