Services: Concept design, ergonomics, mechanical design, CMF, prototyping & testing, manufacture liaison.
Vicon Apex is a precise, robust hand-held augmented reality tracking tool. Its ergonomic design and flexible controls enable the user to interact intuitively with virtual objects in a 3D environment. With its dodecagon (twelve-sided polygon form) the tracker can be perfectly positioned in this 3D space. Its unique form not only gives the cameras an optimal view of the virtual object that is being interacted with but also shields the user’s hand from the positioning cameras. The Apex has been used in a variety of applications from design reviews and ergonomics/human factors engineering through to immersive training and virtual environment research.
In the real world.
By creating an immersive environment, the Apex can be used to manipulate a full-size Bentley car. Infrared cameras and markers accurately track the 3D goggles and the Apex controller in 3D space, so the user can fully interact with the car before it even exists. For instance, it enables service engineers to undertake a virtual service/gearbox change without ever having to make an actual product.
The design process
Before we started designing the Vicon Apex we had to gain an understanding of its underlying technology and the types of environments it would be used in. We had to design it to reliably track within the small two-camera Bonita systems to the very largest T-Series system.
Through sketching we explored various concepts. The final concept chosen was a dodecagon shape, which our electronics team evolved internally. This shape offered the most stable 3D device as previous versions would lose their tracking positions due to 'blind spots' from the cameras. From there we created blue foam models and various prototypes to test the form and validate the design. This was crucial especially considering the ergonomic constraints of this device.
Press and coverage
Apex was featured in the Vicon Standard magazine in an interview with General Motors’ VR Studio Manager, Steven Powell, who relied his positive thoughts on this groundbreaking device.