Forsspac is a professional service provider in the construction industry operating at the leading edge of 3D for building design and believes that appropriate adoption of technology is essential for the future development and effectiveness of our business. It is exploring the opportunities available through using Virtual Reality (VR). Augmented Reality (AR) will be considered at a later date.
Our aim is to find out through experimentation just where the software and hardware products derived from gaming technology fits into our business, how it can be used effectively in the design process, aid design development and then convey “built” virtual environments to our engineers and customers.
Forsspac is starting this journey with VR, the key questions we want to answer are:
- How will we change the mind set of our engineers so that they can embrace and derive benefit from the new “reality” 3D which demands a degree of cross discipline collaboration that we have not seen before in the building services design industry
- Can we quantify the real benefits during design of using this technology to fuel further investment
- How can we produce useful building services design output that will enable our customers to engage and benefit from this technology
- What value does the “walk through” of a fully rendered architecural space bring to our customers.
Before we set about answering the above questions we should first of all look at the available technology solutions and why we have chosen our particular visualisation system.
Virtual Reality is a computer system in which the user experiences an immersive simulation. VR technologies are diverse and the term can encompass anything from 3D cinema to an interactive application using a Head Mounted Display (HMD).
The most mature technologies are for 3D cinema (walls), caves and domes. A cave is a VR display where an image is projected onto multiple walls that surround the user and may include the ceiling and/or floor. Domes are curved surfaces onto which images are projected. VR has largely been used within the entertainment industries, the exception being aircraft flight simulators. Applications may include, the ability to manipulate the model, sound and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.
There has been a growth in the use of VR in recent years for industrial applications by the architectural, automotive, aerospace, construction and ship building industries for the design of end products, manufacturing processes and marketing. This has primarily been accomplished through the use of walls and caves, it offers non-designers a greater appreciation of the design leading to better communication at an earlier stage. In the architectural and construction industries this can include aesthetic, access and health & safety issues.