Logitech is a major technical device manufacturer. It makes sense that in designing these groundbreaking technological devices, groundbreaking technological devices would be employed themselves. It turns out that this is often the case.
In May, ahead of this year’s Augmented World Expo, Logitech introduced the VR Ink Pilot Edition. More than just a pen, the device is believed to be the world’s first room-scale VR stylus tool.
Design Partners Chief Design Officer Cormac Ó Conaire shared his experiences using the VR Ink Pilot Edition, some of his views on VR in product design, and insight into how even a beta version of an enterprise solution actually impacts us all.
Logitech’s VR Inc Pilot Edition
The $750 VR Ink Pilot Edition is a beta product available through an application process.
The stylus can work in virtual environments including room-scale virtual spaces. It can also illustrate or annotate 2D surfaces. It is currently compatible with headsets from VIVE and Varjo.
With a pressure-sensitive tip and main button, the stylus is designed to be easy to use, even for people that aren’t familiar with VR and VR design tools.
“Today’s creative pioneers need new tools they already love, but adapted to a world of true 3D,” Logitech Director of VR Programs Dennis O’Keeffe said in a release shared with ARPost. “We’re sharing it ahead of availability with enterprise pioneers and parts in the 3D world.”
One of those pioneers, and a longtime partner of Logitech, is Design Partners.
“Logitech asked Design Partners’ team to use their VR Ink Pilot Edition to create a series of design concepts in virtual reality,” said Ó Conaire. “Our goal was to explore the creative workflow and user experience of the digital VR stylus.”
VR and Product Design
Design Partners is a product design and innovation agency that was founded in 1984 and first partnered with Logitech in 1994. In addition to designing a number of iconic products with Logitech, their most recognizable single product design might be the original Nest in 2009. They’ve also worked with companies like Dell, Alienware, Google, HP, and Samsung.
“Design Partners and Logitech have a longstanding strategic relationship when it comes to design and innovation, having created some of the world’s best-loved gaming, productivity, and creativity tools together,” said Ó Conaire. “We share strong values of collaboration and the ambition to create meaningful experiences that will enhance people’s lives.”
Design firms like Design Partners have long reached out for the newest technology no matter what products they design themselves. Some leaders in the industry have likened the introduction of VR to the introduction of 3D CAD software.
“In the early stages of the design process, VR is like a turbo charged sketch book, giving the capability to doodle ideas and explode them in three dimensions,” said Ó Conaire. “We can create sketches, surfaces, and forms in a kind of infinite three-dimensional space. In this sense, VR invites stream of consciousness creativity.”
Using the Pen With Other Solutions
After having used the VR Ink Pilot Edition since March, Design Partners’ testimony confirmed many of the objectives set out by Logitech.
“Unlike the standard VR controllers, the VR Stylus uses familiar paradigms of design – essentially pen and paper – and translates them into the virtual world,” said Ó Conaire. “This speeds-up the learning curve in the VR software and helps get into the flow of design quicker.”
Perhaps even more interesting are the insights that Design Partners gleaned from using the VR Ink Pilot Edition with other VR design hardware and software solutions like Gravity Sketch and Flyingshapes for modeling and remote collaboration.
“Certainly, having seen and experienced the power of VR, we are going to continue to experiment and grow in this space,” said Ó Conaire. “We will utilize VR to aid better collaboration so that our designers can interact with complex ideas, wherever they might be.”
There’s No Going Back
None of the products that Design Partners created through their involvement in Logitech’s pilot program have hit the market yet. But they will soon. And, according to Ó Conair, they won’t be the last generation of products designed with VR.
“The VR creativity space is ripe for innovation. Certainly, having seen and experienced the power of VR, Design Partners is going to continue to experiment and develop fluency in this space.”