Product development process makes use of different models, methods and available technologies to validate product requirements at an early stage. Technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are increasingly finding their application in industry and in the product development process. VR has the potential to support the product evaluation process. However, the costly preparation of VR scenes and the expensive hardware needed for the implementation greatly limits its use in the industry. Normally, the different VR content development and rendering softwares are application specific and offer very limited interoperability or reuse of created content. In addition, the needed hardware usually consists of dedicated visualization computers, tracking sensors, interaction devices and requires a fixed installation space. The motivation for the work presented in this paper is to reduce the preparation effort, hardware cost and remove the need for a fixed installation usually required by VR.
The High-End smartphones of today from almost all the manufacturers can facilitate the development and stand-alone execution of VR and AR applications. However, the major application of Smartphone Virtual Reality (SVR) is mainly in the entertainment industry i.e. VR-gaming or visualization applications etc. VR until today is thought to be a visualization technology that requires special hardware for its implementation. There are hardly any applications of SVR in the industry today mainly because of two reasons. First, the position tracking against the user movement in the virtual scene is not readily available in SVR. It is usually achieved by attaching additional tracking devices to smartphones. Secondly, the smartphones themselves are not perceived as high-performance devices suitable for industrial simulations.
This paper discusses a method for efficient preparation of VR-scene along with their behavior simulations and presents a novel SVR application that eliminates the need for expensive VR hardware. The challenges and the requirements from the SVR along with the possible solutions are discussed in detail. The presented SVR application includes product behavior simulation and wireless communication with a laptop. An example product along with its behavior simulation sums-up the application of SVR in the product development process. The position tracking in SVR is implemented and an experiment compares the precision of this position tracking with the tracking achieved by a Head Mounted Display (HMD). The experimental setup along with the achieved results are also discussed. A user survey conducted for the smartphone VR application and the feedback of this survey is also presented in this paper.