Immersive virtual reality systems have the potential to transform the manner in which designers create prototypes and collaborate in teams. Using technologies such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, a designer can attain a sense of “presence” and “immersion” typically not experienced by traditional CAD-based platforms. However, one of the fundamental challenges of creating a high quality immersive virtual reality experience is actually creating the immersive virtual reality environment itself. Typically, designers spend a considerable amount of time manually designing virtual models that replicate physical, real world artifacts. While there exists the ability to import standard 3D models into these immersive virtual reality environments, these models are typically generic in nature and do not represent the designer’s intent. To mitigate these challenges, the authors of this work propose the real time translation of physical objects into an immersive virtual reality environment using readily available RGB-D sensing systems and standard networking connections. The emergence of commercial, off-the shelf RGB-D sensing systems such as the Microsoft Kinect, have enabled the rapid 3D reconstruction of physical environments. The authors present a methodology that employs 3D mesh reconstruction algorithms and real time rendering techniques to capture physical objects in the real world and represent their 3D reconstruction in an immersive virtual realilty environment with which the user can then interact. A case study involving a commodity RGB-D sensor and multiple computers connected through standard TCP internet connections is presented to demonstrate the viability of the proposed methodology.

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