Virtual Reality at Knightscope
So who designs your stuff? Well, most people find it surprising that the entire creative process of industrial design is done in-house by Knightscope, led by our purely awesome Executive Vice President and Chief Design Officer, Aaron Lehnhardt (plus a little...., ok a lot, of influence and input from our CEO - it's one of his favorite parts of his job!).
By the way, we not only design, but we engineer, we build, we deploy and we support our entire technology suite out of our offices in Mountain View - in the heart of Silicon Valley. Actually each machine literally says "Designed and Built in Silicon Valley" on it. We think some of us drank the water from down the street in Cupertino - we somehow have the same itch to want to do things in-house as much as possible similar to our friends over at Apple. It is not that we don’t start with looking to integrate existing technologies, but in a lot of cases we end up back at square one with having to develop our own stuff.
“No joke. He can read my mind,” said our CEO, William Santana Li. Aaron and Bill have been working together for nearly 20 years and that, likely, is a more plausible explanation for the ‘mind reading’. Plus both are ex-Ford Motor Company so they have their own, odd, Detroit automotive short-hand speak. “If people saw some of our really lengthy exchanges on designing something, usually arguing over a pixel, most would think one or both of us have a screw loose,” continued Li.
But how does Virtual Reality (VR) play a role at Knightscope? Both Aaron and Bill, based on their automotive training, are used to more car, truck or SUV proportions - which from both a proportion and surfacing standpoint can be very difficult to apply to Knightscope’s Autonomous Data Machines (ADMs) - as they don’t necessarily resemble something that has existed in the marketplace for decades. Combining hand sketches, digital sketches, proportional models and subsequently reviewing the entire package in VR (with reference points) can be a game changer in design verification, testing of a thesis, or validating a concept. Fast!
The VR models can also be used for engineering confirmation, thinking through the design for assembly process, the design for service process, as well as for robust training procedures. And, yes, potential clients that visit Knightscope Headquarters (KHQ) sometimes can get a glimpse of the future of what the team is working on behind-the-scenes.
Lastly, but most importantly, Aaron was able to get the Knightscope (VR) Design Studio (turntable, indoor and outdoor settings, etc.) up and going well before their ambition to one day physically build a design studio! Until then, a heartfelt thank you to all of those hard working folks that made VR technology a reality. We can now use it to accelerate the pace of our own technology development - providing new unprecedented tools for the 1+ million security guards and 1+ million law enforcement professionals nationwide - to help better secure our nation. Technology has, can and will continue to change the world.