Sunday, 21 September 2014
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This virtual reality firm is running the biggest recruitment drive in its 20-year history

The explosion of interest in VR means British company Virtalis is looking for graduates and interns.

For many years virtual reality has been confined to clunky and expensive headsets producing clunky and cheap-looking graphics, at best resembling something like the computerised world of the movie Tron.

Tron 1982 escape on Make A Gif Source: YouTube

It’s a far cry from the kind of immersive virtual experience portrayed by the likes of the Star Trek holodeck - much to many a sci-fi fan’s frustration.

Source: Tumblr

But breakthroughs in both hardware and software now mean that the “reality” part of VR is starting to look a lot more real – and becoming much more user friendly.

Source: Tumblr

As a result, interest in VR is exploding, from Facebook’s purchase of gaming headset company Oculus Rift, to engineering firms like Jaguar Land Rover using immersive 3D video “caves” to get up close with their latest designs.

JLR Cave on Make A Gif Source: The Engineer

One of the knock-on results is a big rise in demand for software engineers to get involved in developing the latest VR systems. Cheshire-based firm Virtalis, has recently launched the biggest recruitment drive in its 20-year history.

‘We have the biggest order book we have ever had and many diverse projects for companies and institutions all over the world, covering development of software products and derived applications alongside 3D stereoscopic virtual reality display systems,’ said managing director David Cockburn-Price.

Right now, the firm is working on two major pieces of software. One is a tool to enable engineering firms to visualise their designs at inccredible levels of detail - think being able to see a car engine appear to float in front of you and then zooming in to see how every component inside precisely interacts.

Virtalis Visionary Render on Make A Gif Source: Virtalis

The other is a way of mapping large areas of land in 3D and adding multiple layers of information, enabling civil engineers and geologists to see exactly what’s underground but also for a range of government and defence industry simulations (Virtalis employees must be EU nationals and long-term UK residents for this reason).

Virtalis GeoVisionary on Make A Gif Source: Virtalis

Graduate recruits are going to be an important part of the development of these two projects, but staff also get the chance to work on individual projects, like the creation of this hazardous environment training software:

Schneider digital training on Make A Gif Source: Schneider

Such is the demand on Virtalis, it’s also recruiting paid interns for the first time, focusing primarily on final-year Master’s students based in the North West of England. Interns will be given a mentor and asked to work on a specific job depending on their skills but their work could overlap with a university project.

Virtalis 3D screen on Make A Gif Source: Virtalis

Cockburn-Price said he sees the attraction of working at Virtalis as its openness to working for any customer across multiple sectors and geographical locations - and using any manufacturer’s equipment.

‘This allows us to really draw on our wealth of experience to advise clients on the best system set up and software for their situation and the financial and organisational benefits they can generate.’

Indeed, Virtalis’s work is so varied you could end up with your hand up the rear end of an artifical ‘haptic’ cow for simulating veterinary procedures. (But don’t worry; you probably won’t.)

Virtalis haptic cow on Make A Gif Source: Virtalis

For more information visit the Virtalis website .


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