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Lockheed Builds Jets in Seriously Awesome, Kind of Embarrassing Virtual Environment

Lockheed's CHIL
When designing a new aircraft, engineers must be able to get a feel for how the jet might come together -- and, generally, the only way to do that is to actually build a mock-up and crawl inside. But, with the Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory or CHIL (which is pronounced exactly how you'd expect... with a heavy dose of shame), engineers can get some "hands-on" time with their creations through the use of virtual reality. Those people who look like they're doing the robot in the video posted after the break are actually navigating a virtual craft in three-dimensional space. The virtual environment offers some tangible benefits (besides cost) over a real prototype. For one, changes can be made and quickly evaluated without having to build an entirely new model. It also makes it possible for several people to collaborate on a single model from across the country or across the globe. Models can even have data superimposed over them, so that engineers can quickly see important measurements.

The tech was developed by Lockheed's Virtual Reality Systems Integration Lab. As you can see in the second demo video posted after the break, CHIL is capable of some pretty spiffy graphics. In fact, we can't help but imagine the tech being used to create one incredibly realistic first-person shooter. We wonder what it would take to port 'Half Life 2' to CHIL...

Tags: CHIL, design, future, lockheed, top, virtual reality, VirtualReality