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3D Technology helps book Coventry company’s business class seats on latest plane


A Coventry company, which has designed a high tech business class aeroplane seat, is winning the attention of major plane companies thanks to technology at WMG, part of the University of Warwick, which allows them to show customers virtual reality simulations of exactly how those seats will look within their planes.

Coventry based Envisage Group have developed an advanced concept seat for future business/first class passengers. They showed the first prototype physical model shown at 2010 International Interior expo show in Hamburg but to get their message across clearly they needed to find some way to show potential customers exactly how their new seat would appear and fit within the most modern planes.

Then they heard that there was an ideal technological solution within a new Centre at WMG at the University of Warwick. Part funded by Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the new £5 million Premium Vehicle Customer Interface Technologies (PVCIT) Centre brings together in a unique package: high resolution laser scanners, x-ray technology in a precision CT scanner, and the UK’s highest resolution 3D virtual reality “Power Wall” driven by visualisation software supplied by Autodesk. The Centre was created to open up these technologies to Midland’s manufacturers giving them abilities that would normally be associated with superheroes and supercomputers rather than engineers.

The centre allowed the company to create exact 3D virtual reality visualisations of how their innovative seat would appear within an actual plane even allowing potential customers to walk on board the plane and walk around the seating. This helped the company to generate interest in their new seats from significant plane manufacturers and plane operators.

Ronan Farrell the head of Design and Marketing at Envisage said:

“Without the University of Warwick’s high resolution digital displays and 3D interactivity we would never have been able to fully communicate the design to our potential customers. To actually be able to put ourselves inside the design is something we have never experienced before and we are very pleased to be able to have access to this technology.”

Dr Mark Williams, University of Warwick WMG researcher and PVCIT Principal Investigator said:

"We were delighted to be able to model for Envisage exactly what these advanced concept seats would look like that within an Airbus A380 airframe. Envisage are just one of a number of West Midlands companies that have leapt on the free access to this technology at WMG at the University of Warwick. We can test product design or even laser scan existing whole products as big as a car or van to create 3D models accurate to 5 thousands of a millimetre which they can then display and manipulate on the Centre’s 3D “Power Wall”.

Mike Lucas Industry Sales Manager of Autodesk Manufacturing said:

“WMG offers a Visualisation and Metrology technological capability under one roof that is a world first. To be able to incorporate our software into the PVCIT centre and apply it to applications, such as the development of the advanced passenger seat concept, is a very exciting opportunity for us.”

Note for editors - This project brought together a number of companies including: Visioneering, Autodesk and HoloVis as partners with WMG at the University of Warwick.

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications
University of Warwick 02476 523708
mobile 07767 655860

Mark Williams, WMG, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 575361

Envisage Group - Andy Webb 07817268196 

Autodesk - Mike Lucas 07912476664

PR21 PJD 8th March 2011