VR to map Ford’s evolution

3D CAR: 3D specialist Max Rahrig with ute owner Jason Bedford, Deakin's Dr Kaja Antlej, student Matthew George, and Dr Steven Cooke.

The evolution of an iconic Ford vehicle will come to life as part of a virtual reality (VR) museum showcasing Geelong’s industrial design heritage.

Deakin University researchers will use 3D imagery of a 2009 Ford Falcon XR6 to demonstrate the model’s progression from the company’s original Australian 1934 ute.

Dr Kaja Antlej, from Deakin’s CADET VR Lab, said the project acknowledged Geelong as a city of “innovation and creativity”.

“Since its earliest days as Australia’s wool capital Geelong has been a significant industrial city and car manufacturing one of our most visible industries,” Dr Antlej said.

“But we didn’t just make cars, we invented a quintessentially Australian vehicle that helped shape our collective identity.”

The 1934 model was developed after a farmer’s wife requested the Geelong-based manufacturer to build a vehicle that could transport livestock and carry her family to formal engagements.

Ford designer Lewis Bandt combined the style of a Ford Coupe with an integrated utility tray, creating a vehicle Henry Ford described as a “kangaroo chaser from Australia”.

3D specialist Max Rahrig, a researcher from Germany’s University of Bamberg, said the project would show the possibilities of modern VR technologies for documenting cultural heritage.

“It gives us the chance to present and explore culture in an innovative and outstanding way,” Mr Rahrig said.

“It will improve our understanding of how VR heritage experiences can empower the local community and create stimulating learning environments and resources.”

The pop-up museum will be held during Geelong Design Week in March.

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