Designing in virtual environments: The integration of virtual reality tools into industrial design research and education

Sarah Roberts, Rowan Page, Mark Richardson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


Virtual reality (VR) has become an increasingly common tool in consumer and professional settings. While there are many documented applications of industrial designers using VR in large corporations, there is limited literature detailing applications in studio-based education. This paper shares learnings from three case-studies across undergraduate, postgraduate, and design research projects. These projects share some of the possibilities and limitations of VR tools for future industrial design practitioners. The application of these tools spans across the product development process, from virtual 3D sketching and CAD modelling, visualization, usability testing to co-design workshops with members of the public. VR has moved beyond just a tool for visualization and decision making, and can now play an active role in all stages of the design process. These projects detail the possibilities for VR in industrial design and illuminate some of the challenges in teaching these emerging technologies and tools to design students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS 2020: Synergy
EditorsStella Boess, Ming Cheung, Rebecca Cain
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781912294404
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventDesign Research Society (UK) International Conference 2020: Synergy - Virtual, Online, Australia
Duration: 11 Aug 202014 Aug 2020


ConferenceDesign Research Society (UK) International Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleDRS 2020
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address


  • virtual-reality
  • design education
  • emerging technology

Cite this