Mindesk introduces IRIS at Volkswagen Group event "Future Technology for Car Design"
April 16, 2020 - "Future Technology for Car Design" is an event organized by T-System for Volkswagen which gathers the latest innovations in the Automotive design industry.
A selection of Volkswagen's Tier-1 Partners including Mindesk (a Vection Technology company), McNeel and Associates, T-System, Epic Games, Varjo, and Logitech, presented their latest technological updates. CEO Gabriele Sorrento and Computational Designer Arturo Tedeschi introduced Iris, an original concept for an electric city car. Arturo Tedeschi further shared details about how Mindesk Live Link with VR and Unreal opens an unprecedented approach to parametric design.
Arturo Tedeschi is an architect and computational design specialist expert in the avant-garde segment of architecture and industrial design. He is the author of Parametric Architecture with Grasshopper and AAD Algorithms-Aided Design. He has taught at Architectural Association School (London), Politecnico di Milano, IUAV (Venice), The University of Sydney, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, University of Edinburgh, Universidad Europea (Madrid).
Iris is a design journey that starts from handmade sketches and goes through Virtual Reality and Real-Time rendering. "We did everything in five working days" Tedeschi emphasized, "and this is super important for me because, since we are not car designers, using this technology enabled us to achieve this result".
The idea behind Iris is to create a concept of a two-seat electric car with a feminine look that can be actually manufactured. The first 3D modeling stage was performed on Rhinoceros 6 by following a traditional bottom-up approach: each surface has been defined through generative curves that defined the child NURBS surfaces. The surface continuity was guaranteed by Rhino's curvature check tools. The intended result seeks for some interesting transitions between soft and hard surfaces.
The design process continued in Virtual Reality. Being a computational design expert, Arturo used algorithms to support design creation. Jumping from CAD to VR can cause frustration, this is why Arturo used Mindesk, which combines the two together. This makes it possible to explore the model at 1:1 scale and provides the great advantage of understanding the scale and proportions of the car.
The VR experience goes further and enables controlling the geometry directly in VR. "It's unbelievable. We use Grasshopper scripts every day and now, in the same VR environment, we have this canvas where you can edit the sliders and experience the output in 3D" comments Arturo.
This establishes a double interaction: on one side there is the algorithm that reacts to numeric inputs, on the other manipulating 3D Rhino geometries feed the parametric model. In Mindesk is possible to keep control of both aspects simultaneously and being focused on the actual result.
Specifically, the designer can interact with the curves that define the shading system of the car roof while sitting inside the car. This allows to understand how the pattern will actually look like once built.
Logitech VR INK is fully integrated into Mindesk and provides a superior input precision level. The device has been used in the development of IRIS in the design review process, to draw studies of alternative bracing systems for the steering wheel, establish a limit line for the shading system, and for taking accurate measures.
Unreal is a game engine that allows simulating physical behavior in photorealistic scenes, define materials and lighting conditions.
Mindesk allows establishing a real-time connection between Rhinoceros and Unreal Engine 4. It is possible to define the appearance of automotive materials like car paint as well as the front lights which are created in a procedural way, while controlling the geometries in Grasshopper.
So, the designer has the opportunity to change the shape of the roof shading by tweaking the algorithm while keeping the focus on the rendered scene where materials and light are applied.
"We had the opportunity to simulate the pattern from the inside and select the one for our concept."
"It is not possible to reach this design level if you don't have the right tools" concludes Tedeschi.
Within the Iris project, the virtual reality experience, combined with the real-time render allowed exploring a multitude of solutions really quick, unveiled the real impact of style choices and drove the final decision.
Q: "Arturo, think of a scenario where you have a VR device, you are sitting inside the car, and you are able to modify the patterns live above you, do you think it is possible? This would be a whole new level of 3D modeling." - Volkswagen Team member
A: "Absolutely, we are geometry expert and we work in a mathematical world that is completely abstract. So, in general, you need some "superpowers" to visualize [the project] but sometimes it is not enough, so you need renders that can take hours or days to make. Sometimes you realize the solution doesn't work and you need to start over again, this feedback process is very frustrating. With Mindesk you can do all in once in real-time. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been even possible for us to even imagine to achieve this in five days only, without being car designers." - Arturo Tedeschi - A>T, founder
Q: "One stylist could sit in VR inside the car while another stylist is [at the desktop workstation] and see the impact?" - Volkswagen Team member
A: "This is definitely possible as Mindesk is a multi-user tool. We are also working on a new tool that will allow to stream the session over the cloud so that many people from all over the world can participate" - Gabriele Sorrento - CEO, Mindesk Inc.
Q: "So that means design reviews can be possible while someone is modeling. It could be more than two people, it could be five or six, whatever. That's a completely new dimension of modeling." - Volkswagen Team member
A: "Yes, it becomes interacting modeling as other people including - why not? - the final client can interact with the designer while creating a new car. The other option that we are exploring is introducing the geometric and parametric modeling inside the car configurator." - Gabriele Sorrento