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Marshalltown, Iowa – May 2016 – Wichita State University’s (WSU) National Institute for Aviation Research partnered with Dassault Systèmes and Mechdyne Corporation to custom design, build, and install the largest reconfigurable FLEX immersive visualization system ever deployed by Mechdyne. The three organizations—comprising the University’s Innovation Project Team—worked together for over a year to discuss strategies built around the university’s campus vision and to develop the goal of transforming manufacturing across multiple industries like aerospace and defense, life sciences, and industrial equipment through innovative applications of technology.


By utilizing the FLEX’s virtual reality capabilities, WSU is:

  • Strengthening and diversifying the south Kansas advanced manufacturing supply chain

  • Increasing quality and scope of products across industries, such as aerospace and defense technologies

  • Increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of aerospace and defense-related business


"Our primary vision is to transform manufacturing across multiple industries -  aerospace and defense, life sciences, and industrial equipment – through innovative technology,” says Jeff Fisher, WSU’s virtual reality lab manager. “We wanted to work with Mechdyne because of their reputation for approaching projects differently, from design through integration, and because they do difficult projects exceptionally well."


“I’ve worked with Mechdyne since we integrated the Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory (CHIL) at Lockheed Martin,” says Dassault’s Jeff Smith. “Mechdyne has a lot of experience in enabling ways to virtually create before physically creating to improve products and associated processes. Working together with WSU seemed like a natural choice."


Mechdyne has been collaborating with Dassault and WSU since early 2014 to fully develop the vision for the virtual reality system. Ultimately, the university has a goal to enhance the concept and design process; user experience testing; virtual prototyping, facilities planning, and certification; and significantly shorten the product development and timelines for various industries. From these goals, Mechdyne designed the massive FLEX system. The fixed front wall measures nearly 19 feet, towering ten feet high, with each hinged side wall stretching an additional ten feet. The 12 LED projectors provide crisp 4K resolution on the front wall and the floor, with HD x HD resolution for the walls.


Wichita State University virtual reality system

“The reconfigurable nature of the FLEX allows it to become a flat wall display for data review, an angled theater for collaboration, or an immersion room,” says Terry Mercer, Mechdyne solutions engineer, who helped conceptualize the FLEX’s design. “We are very excited to see what kind of work WSU will do with this cutting-edge technology, which will put them at the forefront of their field."


The FLEX currently resides in a temporary location on WSU’s campus during construction of the university’s new Experiential Engineering Building. In that time, engineering and manufacturing users are familiarizing themselves with the system, incorporating software capabilities, and testing use cases and operational requirements. Within a few days of installation, tours to see the system started to flood WSU. Despite its presence for a mere six weeks, hundreds of visitors have seen the immersive system, including middle school students and vice presidents of local OEMs. Construction of the system’s new home is estimated to be completed in October 2016.


“By using the FLEX system, we will create complete ‘virtual twins’ of products and processes before we make physical prototypes or investments,” says Fisher. “The virtual twin within the immersive environment will create deep collaboration, insight, and understanding through product development lifecycles, and we will ensure products are right the first time.”


About National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University
The National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University is regarded as one of the most capable university-based aviation research centers in the United States. NIAR provides research, design, testing, certification, and training to the aviation manufacturing industry, government agencies, educational entities and other clients. NIAR’s mission is to conduct research, transfer technology, and enhance education for the purpose of advancing the nation’s aviation industry, and to assist non-aviation industries that may benefit from aviation-related technologies. For more information, visit www.niar.wichita.edu


Wichita State University, a public state university in the Kansas Board of Regents system, is a growing leader in innovation, creativity and collaborative learning. The mission of Wichita State University is to be an essential educational, cultural, and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good. 


About Dassault Systèmes
Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Its world-leading solutions transform the way products are designed, produced, and supported. Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative solutions foster social innovation, expanding possibilities for the virtual world to improve the real world. The group brings value to over 210,000 customers of all sizes, in all industries, in more than 140 countries. For more information, visit www.3ds.com.


About Mechdyne
Mechdyne Corporation is a broad-based technology partner specializing in audiovisual and information technologies (AV/IT), visualization and software solutions, immersive virtual reality technologies, and technical support services. We address complex projects where an in-depth understanding of user requirements leads to the development of customized solutions involving elements of display, graphics computing, software, and professional services. Headquartered in Marshalltown, Iowa, Mechdyne serves a global client base that includes leading government laboratories, university and research centers, energy, aerospace, manufacturing, and medical organizations, as well as any other user of advanced technology. For more information, visit www.mechdyne.com