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EADS and OPTIS receive prize for collaboration on virtual reality platform RHEA

MEDEF (Mouvement des Entreprises de France – "Movement of the French Enterprises"), France's largest Management business association, has awarded the "Coup de CŒur" prize of the MEDEF "club de l'innovation" to EADS Innovation Works and its partner OPTIS. This prize acknowledges their strategic partnership, which aims at transferring to OPTIS the industrialisation and commercial deployment of the virtual reality platform RHEA and at sharing its long-term development.

The RHEA (Realistic Human Ergonomic Analysis) platform, developed and finalised by EADS Innovation Works over the past five years, offers a virtual reality space for carrying out ergonomics studies on future aerospace vehicles and their manufacturing process. RHEA users are able to analyse accessibility, comfort envelopes, effort required and fields of view when designing a new system.

RHEA is a virtual gate allowing real people to enter the virtual product and perform various evaluations. Designers and ergonomists can take the place of a pilot, crew member, passenger or technician to experience their different tasks. They can explore a series of technical solutions by interacting directly with the full-scale 3D digital mock- up. Users interact with RHEA either by wearing special goggles or a helmet-mounted display, or as an avatar, an artificial figure with human dimensions. With RHEA they can work in real time with what they see. Every component or change in design can be checked promptly at its true size.

Already deployed by Airbus in Toulouse, Saint-Nazaire and Hamburg, the RHEA platform is now an integral part of the design and manufacturing process for the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. RHEA is also used by the EADS Divisions Eurocopter and Astrium.

Allowing decisions to be taken very early in the design process, this technology can be applied across various industries whenever taking into account human interaction with a complete environment is critical to the final design. RHEA also enables assembly and maintenance personnel to train on a product that would normally be difficult to access.OPTIS, a leading worldwide provider of solutions for the modelling of visual ergonomics and optical simulation, adds its competencies in human vision simulation and physics- based virtual prototyping in order to reach a high level of realism and accuracy.

The agreement honoured by MEDEF with an award envisages OPTIS commercialising and supporting the RHEA software globally, while EADS benefits from sales outside of the Group. Both partners can introduce new features, and the modules they have developed will remain their own intellectual property. A steering committee staffed by both partners will plan and drive the future development of RHEA and evaluate experience-based feedback from customers.

Jacques Delacour, founder, CEO and President of OPTIS, said: "Our unique partnership enables us to jointly secure the critical transition phase from research to early steps on the market. Thanks to our know-how in optical simulation, we can now address the markets for simulators and virtual reality. The availability of the RHEA platform completes our offer and enables us to propose a global solution to our customers with immediate effect."

Didier Guedra-Degeorges, Vice President for Structure Engineering, Production Processes & Aeromechanics at EADS Innovation Works, said: "This collaboration is a technological partnership and not a 'technology transfer and forget' agreement. It will ensure dissemination and support of this technology over the complete EADS extended enterprise at low costs. It is part of our mission not only to create differentiating technologies for EADS but also to implement them in an industrial supply chain. In addition, we are confident that, based on OPTIS' international outreach, multi- sectorial applications will quickly demonstrate the huge commercial potential of the RHEA platform."

Press release issued by Airbus Group Innovations on September 13, 2011


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