The LUVMI team experienced a sneak preview of the brand new LUVMI virtual reality set up recently, at the end of their first year review in Brussels.
The tool simulates the rover as it moves across lunar terrain.
The addition of the VR (Virtual Reality) setup, namely an Oculus Rift, allows you to operate the rover in a very immersive environment, showing exactly what you might encounter in the real life situation.
This programme can simulate an operation with the rover on the Moon, allowing you to control some actions:
to displace the rover on the lunar terrain,
to switch on lights when traversing shadowed regions,
to rotate the navigation camera to look at the surroundings,
to get different views (third person view, navigation camera view, scientific camera view),
to move the chassis up & down, to prepare drilling operation,
Some actions such as the solar panel rotating to always face the sun (to get the maximum amount of solar energy) and the antenna dish rotating to always face the earth (to get the best communication link with ground control) are done automatically for you.
The simulation does simplify some of the actions (for instance the LUVMI rover moves faster, and the drilling operation is quicker). To be more realistic, it can be extended with more features, (for instance, battery management, temperature monitoring, etc.).
Credits: This application has been developed using (Unity3D)[https://unity3d.com/], a game engine that facilitate the creation of VR application. The preliminary design (the engineering model) of the rover has been done using (SolidWorks)[http://www.solidworks.com/], and the kinematic model with its meshes (the simulation model) was completed with (Blender)[https://www.blender.org/].