The Best Inventions of 2021
November 10, 2021 6:11 AM EST

Virtual worlds are for more than just gaming—they’re useful for planning infrastructure like roads and buildings, and they can also be used to test autonomous vehicles. NVIDIA’s Omniverse project is making it easier to create ultra-realistic virtual spaces for those real-world purposes. The platform combines the real-time ray-tracing technology of the brand’s latest graphics processing units with an array of open-source tools for collaborating live in photorealistic 3-D worlds. Architects like Foster + Partners are using the tech to visualize building details earlier in the design process, and BMW has built a “digital twin” of one of its factories, enabling the company to test more efficient assembly-line possibilities. —Jesse Will

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