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Virtual Reality in Product Design and Robotics

Final Report Summary - VEGA (Virtual Reality in Product Design and Robotics)

The aim of VEGA project was to increase the capacity, quality and scope of research at Product Design and Robotics Department (PDR) of Transylvania University of Brasov by establishing strong and sustainable research collaborations with centres of excellence in Europe and major industrial partners in regional and European industry based on a competitive research infrastructure. The goal set for the end of the project was to pass from predominantly mechanical engineering based research and early research stages in virtual reality (VR) to the product life cycle approach via VR applications with full capabilities in terms of infrastructure, personnel and participation to the European Research Area (ERA).

In order to achieve this strategic objective, three major operational goals were set. The first involved an increase in scope and competitive research infrastructure. This was addressed through the creation of a backbone of four research work groups. These teams undertook the tasks of defining in detail the science and technology (S&T) objectives of each topic and the creation of the research capacity in terms of human resources, infrastructure and partnership. The second goal involved the training of researchers, while the third goal was the integration of the work into the ERA through development of a strategic partnership highly relevant for the ERA and able to generate new competitive initiatives within the EC research framework programme.

The core scientific innovation of VEGA project was to combine the latest VR technology and concepts with product life cycle software (such as design, simulation, testing, manufacturing, maintenance and recycling) thereby enabling fast and flexible manufacturing. The project had a backbone of four research axes that have been supported within PDR to cover the product life cycle and on which the whole strategy of the support actions was built.

The first axis was a VR based design and simulation group that dealt with the aspects related to the validation of the product functional characteristics, ecodesign and life cycle impact assessment. The second was a virtual testing group that focussed on matters related to the integration of hardware and humans using real time VR and dynamic simulation capabilities for testing. The third group was a manufacturing and recycling workgroup that undertook research in the field of virtual assembly for planning of the assembly / disassembly sequences and validation of processes, process layouts and routes. The final maintenance workgroup developed augmented reality techniques for remote and e-maintenance applications.

The project's main achievements included the setting up of a high level research infrastructure in the fields of VR, product design and robotics, and highly trained personnel. The package of measures supported within VEGA laid out strong scientific foundations able to support the integration of PDR Department of Transylvania University of Brasov into ERA.