Research institute opens virtual factory in metaverse environment

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 1, 2021, 17:18 Updated : November 1, 2021, 17:18

[Courtesy of KAIST]

SEOUL -- A state research institute has opened a virtual plastic screw factory in a metaverse environment. The test model will play a pioneering role as a global sales channel window for small and medium-sized enterprises that have unique core technologies.

The metaverse is a virtual environment that uses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies to simulate virtual worlds. Uses can communicate, experiment, and interact with other users or environments.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) said in a statement that the institute opened a special experimental zone inside its campus in the central city of Daejeon using metaverse technology. Visitors wearing VR headsets can explore a plastic screw factory to monitor manufacturing processes. They can personally operate machines to produce screws in the virtual environment that simulates a real-world factory.

The virtual factory can be applied with different settings such as changing the pressure of the injection molding machine or the speed of the production process. Defects can be detected instantly using the simulated environment. While the real-world factory has to be shut down to apply new settings, the virtual factory can change settings instantly.

"The metaverse can be used as a sales and exports platform for small and medium-sized enterprises who find it hard to gain access to foreign sales channels after the pandemic," an unnamed KAIST official was quoted as saying.
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