Hannover. Virtual reality (VR) is making the future happen, right now. As a key aspect of digitization, it is already finding its way into many areas of our everyday lives and will ultimately transform how we exchange information and how we design and choose products. VR hardware and software is improving all the time, delivering increasingly perfect digital representations of real world environments. The same is true of augmented reality (AR), a class of technologies that literally augment reality by adding digital overlays, thereby making physical products and their functions more informative, engaging and interactive. Just as in other industries and areas of life, VR and AR are opening up new possibilities for all aspects of interior design, including flooring and all those myriad products that turn our interior spaces into homes and make them livable. Examples of these future-defining applications of VR and AR will be on show at DOMOTEX 2018. There, visitors will be able to experience the benefits and applications of these technologies first-hand at live demonstrations run by trailblazing providers of floor coverings and flooring application and installation solutions.

The DOMOTEX 2018 keynote theme, UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE, stands, among much else, for innovative technologies that provide ever more unique and personalized customer experiences. Virtual reality is one of these technologies. It is already in widespread use as a planning tool for architects and also enables the floor coverings industry to bring its products to life by showcasing them in engaging use scenarios.

Deutsche Messe is doing its part to ensure that exhibitors at DOMOTEX are among those harnessing this technology. At the Hackvention Event Series, a new format that runs in the lead-up to DOMOTEX 2018, the company will partner with exhibitors to help them identify the commercial potential of VR for their businesses. Companies participating at the Hackvention Event Series will receive the support they need in order find their own answers to key questions regarding VR and AR, such as the technologies' relevance, ease of use, development potential and possible applications. With hands-on input from industry experts, they will be able to design concepts for VR and AR applications and start developing their own prototypes. The initial fruits of their labor will be on show at DOMOTEX 2018.

Students, too, will be showcasing their interpretations of the UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE theme at DOMOTEX. For instance, a group from the "Communication in Space" master's program at Mainz University of Applied Sciences' design school will be presenting a visionary design concept that highlights the real-life applications of digitization. The students will be presenting a 1:1 model of a potential application of their VR concept at the new "Framing Trends" display area in Hall 9. For their project, "Individual Motion Space", the students are developing a virtual reality application that enables users to design individualized spaces in real-time using their own body movements and then translate their designs into real, physical spaces using digital production technologies. "The project uses motion sensors to capture the movement data so that it can be used to design a virtual three-dimensional space that can be implemented in a variety of potential forms. Algorithms then translate this 3D model into a format that can be used for digital manufacturing," explains Professor Klaus Teltenkötter, who is supervising the project along with Professor Bernd Benninghoff.

These new technologies and others like them will in future make sales presentations of flooring and interior design products more intuitive and engaging for customers. They will also be used as everyday tools for design professionals and will fundamentally change the way in which products – including flooring and interior design products – are designed and manufactured. These exciting manifestations of the digitalization megatrend will be brought to life for visitors in captivating, immersive displays at DOMOTEX 2018.