Taking a Leap of Faith:
Intracon’s First Venture into Virtual Reality

Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of collaborating on various projects with Stratasys, a global leader in 3D printing technology. In fact, Intracon’s initial foray into virtual reality began with Stratasys. In 2016, when the client expressed interest in integrating virtual reality into their trade show strategy, we eagerly embraced the opportunity.

Georg Bons, Managing Director at Intracon GmbH, reflected on our journey: ‘While we had been experimenting with this technology for several years, we had not yet ventured into client project work. This opportunity was the perfect moment to take the leap.

Facing the Challenges

There were several objectives Stratasys wanted to tackle through VR:

First and foremost, overcoming the substantial logistics and tens-of-thousands of dollars needed to transport large 3D printers around the globe for trade shows.

Would VR be as impactful? Stratasys wondered if a VR environment, where users could see and touch 3D printed parts and the 3D printer itself, would be as powerful as having the physical printer at the event.

Could travel costs and employee resources be significantly reduced by using a guided voice-over VR experience that covered 80 percent of frequently asked questions?

With the challenges clearly identified – Intracon went to work.

Rising to the Challenge, Intracon Sprang into Action

The VR Experience focused on the J750 model using Infinite Build and Robotic Composite technology. We had CAD files for the printer and 3D modeled the remaining components and environment.

In collaboration with Stratasys, we selected the 3D-printed products to be featured and crafted the critical narrative. Ultimately, we introduced users to a virtual airplane experience.

In the trade show booth, we arranged two chairs resembling airplane seats with two large displays to mirror the VR user’s perspective. We also had a large space roped off where the experience of walking around the “virtual” 3D printer took place.

Participants sat down in the airplane seat and interacted with 3D-printed parts of the airplane, for example, the seat back tray. Users could also see the 3D printer and were guided through the experience via audio voiceover. The fact that participants could use their hands to interact with the items and menus/interface was a huge hit — receiving great user feedback.

We also integrated a 360 video showing a part being printed.

Evolution of VR Technology

VR technology has evolved significantly since our initial project in 2016. Back then, terms like ‘metaverse’ were not common, and stand-alone headset options were minimal to none. Intracon incorporated hand tracking into the experience by leveraging Leap Motion, which was also uncommon at that time, and later transitioned to controller functionality and tracking.

In Conclusion

The trade show partnership was a genuine leap of faith for Stratasys. They invested in and entrusted Intracon to execute a concept that had never been deployed in their trade show environment. This gamble paid off, providing Stratasys with a fresh and compelling method to showcase their products while simultaneously reducing costs and streamlining logistics and resources.

“We’re so grateful Stratasys put its faith in Intracon,” said Raymond Kramer, Managing Director at Intracon NA. “In doing so, it provided us a launching point to become an industry leader in immersive technology experiences.”

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