Nvidia designs headquarters using VR headsets, its own chips and software

nvidia headquarters gpus iray vr headsets using and to design corp 18virtual master768
If you’re building a new corporate headquarters for 2,500 employees and you make tools that could help the process, why not use them? Who knows, you might just disrupt an entire industry. It looks like that’s exactly what’s happening in the design of chipmaker Nvidia’s new HQ in Santa Clara, California, according to The New York Times.

The $380 million building is scheduled to open in late 2017. The tools that are in some respects reinventing commercial construction design are Nvidia’s Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), the company’s interactive rendering software called Iray that works with the GPUs, and virtual reality headsets such as those built by HTC.

Last year, without VR headsets, there was no way designers could have taken the virtual walkthroughs possible with the Iray 3D renderings from Nvidia’s GPUs. But now they can, and the project design firm Gensler is delighted. “I was pretty much like a kid in the candy store when they first gave me access to a cluster of processors running Iray,” said Gensler visualization artist Scott DeWoody. “I stayed up until three in the morning.”

Iray can control all aspects of the design simulation, down to the surfaces and colors in the building. A key to the new Nvidia headquarters design is light. In keeping with Nvidia’s focus on light and visualization, the building design includes triangle-shaped skylights scattered across the roof. The skylights are not just randomly placed, but strategically positioned to take advantage of natural light.

As part of the design process, Nvidia employed more than 100 GPUs to track every beam of light that entered the building around the clock from every direction. “We simulated every light beam for every hour of the day for every day of the year,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia co-founder and chief executive. That simulation allowed designers to observe the effect of light in all parts of the building and make and test design changes when necessary.  Moving through the building design with the virtual reality headsets revealed aspects that would have been much more difficult — if not impossible, to see with two-dimensional renderings.

When Nvidia’s new headquarters opens next year, many of  the walls will be movable for reconfiguration based on needs. There will be no executive suite, which is reflective of the company’s intentionally flat corporate hierarchy. The headquarters design project will be good practice for a second building already on the drawing board.


Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Product Review

It's not just light. Alienware's m15 is an entirely new breed of gaming laptop

Thin and light gaming is a new category of laptop, led by options like the Razer Blade. Alienware now has its own entry -- The Alienware m15. It’s not the thinnest, lightest, or sleekest option in the bunch, but it doesn’t hold back in…

Nvidia’s Jetson AGX Xavier module is designed to give robots better brains

Nvidia's pricey Jetson AGX Xavier might help drive the next generation of smart robots. Nvidia hopes that developers will use its new Xavier module to power AI-driven machines like delivery drones and robots used in manufacturing.

Intel's discrete graphics will be called 'Xe,' IGP gets Adapative Sync next year

Intel has officially dubbed its discrete graphics product Intel Xe, and the company also provided details about its Gen11 IGP. The latter will include adaptive sync support and will arrive in 2019.

Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus could be set to release a new version of its Rift headset in 2019, but it will be more of a modest upgrade than a true sequel. The Rift S, as its purportedly called, will have a new display, and inside-out tracking.

Google awarded patent for using eye tracking to detect expressions in VR

Google was awarded a patent that involves using eye tracking to infer facial expressions using machine learning in virtual reality. The tech could help make virtual reality a whole lot more immersive than it already is.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Dive head first into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s $480M contract with U.S. military will equip soldiers with Hololens

Microsoft recently won a $480 million contract to equip American soldiers with up to 100,000 of its augmented reality Hololens headsets. Here's what we know so far about the new deal.