Why should Lockheed's engineers get their dress-casual business attire wrinkled up by climbing around actual aircraft when they could just do it in virtual reality instead? Lockheed says this system makes them more efficient, but it just looks like one totally awesome video game to me.
Lockheed Martin's Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory (or, "CHIL," seriously) is a way for designers and engineers to get some hands-on time with the airplanes and spaceships that they're working on, without having to go through all the trouble of building a physical prototype. In addition to making it possible for different people in different locations to collaborate on one project, CHIL can also overlay additional information onto the environment that it wouldn't be possible to see on a physical object.
I'm sure this useful in all sorts of different ways, but I want to know what the guys running this system do when all the engineers have gone home for the day. Counter-Strike? Quake? Street Fighter? It's basically the world's most badass gaming environment.
After the break, check out a video from Lockheed's Virtual Reality Systems Integration Lab, which tosses in a little taste of some of those video game-style graphics.