Architecture and engineering plans might be difficult to understand for non-technical individuals but virtual reality, augmented reality, and reality computing aims to solve that problem.
According to Noah Arles, Autodesk's technical specialist manager for architecture, engineering & construction in ASEAN, these technologies provide architects and engineers a modern platform to improve collaboration and communication with their clients and ensure the safety of their projects.
In the AEC industry in the Philippines, Arles said that technologies like virtual reality is a new idea, adding that it is only prevalent in the gaming industry. Nonetheless, Arles hopes the Philippines can leverage this kind of technology for the AEC industry and maximise the benefits that people can get from it.
Bridging the understanding gap with augmented reality
In the AEC industry, Arles said that it has always been a challenge for engineers and architects to explain their intent ideas to their non-technical clients. "Architects and civil engineers often have their project idea etched in their head in 3D form. The only way they can communicate this idea is to actually downsize the idea in an effort to translate it to 2D,; and then expect that the next person looking at it would have the same picture as in their head."
Arles noted that the understanding gap usually results to project delays.. "If we talk about infrastructure projects, most of the time, the delays are not because of execution but the delays are due to long approval process," he said. "The approval process can be shortened if an understanding can be achieved a lot faster and this [augmented reality] is just one of the ways that approval processes and decision-making processes can be sped up," said Arles.
Augmented reality works by enabling designers to augment digital equivalence or representations of objects to the actual world. "It's like combing this room with a model that you've created in CAD so that you can visualise what your design looks like in the actual world," said Arles.
As such, this technology allows client to not just look at the design but also to navigate around it through game science. "By combining augmented reality [and] game science, this will provide ways of communicating your ideas a lot easier and faster," Arles added.
Immersing in the designer's idea
Compared to augmented reality, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one, said Arles. This is the same definition as the one cited in Jeff Otters' article in the Line, Shape, Space blog of Autodesk.
Through the use of VR googles, this technology allows the client to walk inside the design, move around it and experience the intent idea of the AEC professionals. "While a design professional is proficient in understanding and visualising a 2D CAD developed plan, it is a challenge to communicate that to stakeholders who are less adept in the technical language and presentations of the designs," said Arles. "With virtual reality, we bridge that gap by bringing building information to life. Not only are we empowering all stakeholders with the ability to see, we are also letting them immerse in the designer's vision," he added.
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