Virtual Reality Laboratory for Merck, One of the World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Companies

  • Score Awaiting client review
  • Date Published
  • Reading Time 3-Minute Read

Invonto engaged with Merck to develop a virtual reality application that would simulate initial plans for an upcoming construction project.

About the Client

Merck is a global healthcare company with a 125-year history and over 71,000 employees worldwide. With facilities across the globe and its headquarters in Rahway, New Jersey, Merck helps to find new ways to treat and prevent illness in people and animals around the world.

The Challenge

Merck was in the process of designing a new laboratory and pharmaceutical equipment for their new campus in New Jersey. Before fabricating the new equipment and constructing the laboratory, project managers at Merck wanted to learn if the proposed lab layout and equipment design would be effective for its research and development team. Merck wanted to guarantee that its scientists would have no trouble using the equipment and minimize rework to the floor plan that is common during the building process.

Our Work

Merck partnered with Invonto to develop a virtual reality application that could simulate the equipment and floor plan. Using this application, Merck could gather feedback from stakeholders and make adjustments to the equipment and facilities designs prior to the build-out. This approach can ensure best outcomes from Merck’s capital investments.

Invonto engaged with Merck stakeholders to review architectural designs for the new research lab and gain understanding of the scientific processes. We were provided with the floor plans for the lab and equipment designs. Merck wanted to create a virtual reality app that met their two criteria. The first criteria was to create a virtual lab environment with high quality 3D models to achieve a realistic look. The second criteria was to make the virtual lab interactive, simulating interactions users would expect in the physical lab and working with the equipment.

To achieve these, our VR development team first created 3D models of lab, equipment, fixtures, flooring, ceiling, and scientific tools as per the specifications. We implemented these models in a VR experience created for Oculus Quest headset. We added custom interactions in the VR app to make it intuitive and realistic. We built VR app in multiple milestones and demonstrated each completed milestone to the Merck team for their feedback. Once the app was completed, we created a training manual for the Merck employees. We also conducted onsite demonstrations for the scientists.

The Outcome

Virtual reality simulation made it possible to gather feedback from the stakeholders on space design and scientific processes during the planning stage. Through the interactive and engaging demonstrations, we gathered a number of punch list items for improving construction plan and design of the scientific equipment. With less than 2% of investment of the total cost of the capital project, VR app proved to be a successful initiative. Besides helping in finalizing construction plan, the VR app will also be useful in training new employees on the scientific processes in a much safer and inexpensive environment.