Engineers recreate D-Day relics for Oculus Rift

Dassault Systèmes, manufacturer of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform and CATIA design suite, has recreated unique structures and equipment from the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, France. VentureBeat reports that the entire simulation can also be experienced through the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles.

When the Allies began planning for the invasion of German-occupied France in the 1940s they soon realized that the hardest part wouldn't be in getting the first wave to the beachhead. The true complexity of the D-Day invasion was keeping the largest invading force the world had ever seen supplied.

The Allied solution was to create the world's first temporary deepwater port facility of its kind, called the Mulberry B. Anchored off of Arromanches, France a complex set of concrete and metal pontoons supported a temporary roadway that allowed massive supply ships to dock, roll out their equipment and supplies, and pull away without the need to unload first into smaller ships.

After the war the system was largely dismantled, leaving one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century to the imagination. A Dassault employee lamented the fact to experiential strategy vice president Mehdi Tayoubi, who thought that their own software could provide a solution.

"There was nothing left for them to see on the beaches,” Tayoubi said. “As [modern] engineers, we should [pay] tribute to the engineers of that era who made these huge innovations.”

In motion the simulation Tayoubi helped create shows how the massive structures worked, how they rose when the tide came in and how they settled down onto the long, flat Normandy beaches when the tide went out. Additionally, Dassault made complex models of the LCVP "Higgins" boat and the CG-4A "Waco" glider from the original blueprints.


VentureBeat also says that the educational simulation will be featured in the Nova documentary "D-Day: Sunken Secrets." It will also be available for Oculus Rift users to download and experience at home.

For more on the onrushing wave of virtual reality see our StoryStream here, featuring expert opinions and the latest on upcoming VR-capable games.

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