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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This multicomponent, industry collaborative research includes digital content, exhibitions and confidential/research reports. CDE Global are the world's number one wet processing equipment company for sand and aggregates, mining, C&D waste recycling and industrial sands. The aim was to embed design-led methodologies, digital content workflows and VR/AR technologies into traditional heavy engineering industry, achieving believable immersion. Underpinned by user-empathy, immersive perceptions, and interaction principles. Their machines range in size from that of a van to a house, with modular structures being much larger. The cost and logistics of physical installation at international expos is substantial and sometimes non-viable. An extensive photo-realistic 3D digital library of full-scale machines was produced, each with accurate form and realistic machine-behaviour, by reverse engineering machine data such as FEA analysis. Iterative user testing and co-creation, indicative of the animation and games industry were imbedded in company workflows. Full scale, precision digital models of several products were developed using bespoke photorealistic digital texture maps, accurate animated machine functions, soft objects with fluidics and particle systems for dusty environments. VR content was selected because of its suitability for scale, reach and interaction (Aromaa & Väänänen 2016) and developments in graphics processing now applicable for digital realism. This research achieved customer empathy earlier and reduced the need for physical exhibition of machinery at trade shows, expediting sales. It has positive sustainability implications, contributing to the European Sustainable Consumption and Production Policies which is an action meeting EU Global Goal 12.1 (European Commission, 2017). The research was developed through a 20-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (GBP89,333), graded ‘outstanding’ by Innovate UK. It is a national case study (NCUB, 2018) and THELMA finalist (2018). It directly informed a work package for the AHRC Creative Industries Cluster, Future Screens NI (GBP5,625,772) and unlocked GBP39,959 COVID recovery funding to begin sectoral transformation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCDE Global
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Mar 2017


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


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