Add to the growing list of tech companies that are integrating virtual reality into the architectural design process IrisVR, a startup platform that used this week’s Autodesk University event in Las Vegas to launch two products that allow AEC professionals to instantly visualize, explore, and share 3D models with virtual reality.
Its technology—which already has aroundn 20,000 users as a result of two years of beta testing—ets AEC pros curate VR walkthroughs, create life-like presentations, and interact with virtual models. The new products are:
•IrisProspect, a software program that installs plugins which enable users to send files created with the latest versions of Revit, SketchUp, OBJ, and Rhino directly into VR from one’s desktop. Prospect also allows users to quickly create immersive walkthroughs using Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
•IrisScope allows users to upload, view, and share 360-degree panoramas with a mobile phone and Google Cardboard or Gear VR. Scope supports all leading pano formats, and is available for both iOS and Android devices.
IrisVR's Prospect software provides uses with the immersive walkthrough experience. Image: Courtesy of IrisVR
The basic package of these products is free (to download, click here). For $200 per month users can upgrade to a Pro account, which enhances Prospect with features such as dynamic lighting, annotations, screenshot capture and a scale model mode. The Pro account for Scope, at $40 per month, allows unlimited uploading and other features. IrisVR is offering a bundle of the Pro versions for $210 per month.
IrisVR is releasing these products after two years of extensive beta testing with partners such as Marmon Mok, which used Prospect to help the owner of University Hospital in San Antonio identify optimal patient movement and nurse site lines for infusion centers that the firm was designing. Before embarking on a major renovation of Loyola University Medical Center in suburban Chicago in February 2015, Mortenson Construction used Prospect to design and review with doctors and nurses how they would be using the new space.
“IrisVR gives us the ability to do something in the AEC world that we have never been able to do before: explore, refine, and explore again with full spatial understanding in an extremely compressed timeframe,” says Taylor Cupp, Project Solutions Technologists for the Minneapolis-based Mortenson, which worked with the architect VOA Associates and construction manager Hammes Co. on this project. (The renovation was completed last March.)
“Our virtual environments can be generated within seconds from multiple file formats and provide true-to-scale perspectives that both inspire design and reduce errors,” adds Shane Scranton, CEO and cofounder of IrisVR, whose team includes several AEC veterans. “We’re also seeing significant added value to our clients as they offer virtual reality as a selling point.”
The New York-based IrisVR recently secured $8 million in Series A funding, led by Emergence Capital, whose general partner Kevin Spain is on IrisVR’s board. The startup’s total funding to date is $10 million. Now, IrisVR will find out whether there’s a large enough market for it software, and—perhaps more important—whether the AEC and real estate communities are ready for it.