Virtual Reality in the construction industry is currently used
widely for visualization of construction projects before, during and after they are
finished. Some applications that can be achieved are:
Walkthroughs - Architects/Engineers can see how the building will appear in 3D. Contractors have a better understanding of the project which, in turn, greatly helps in preparing a bid package. Owner can see the complete designs in 3 dimensional and request changes before the construction starts.
Marketing tool - Virtual Reality tools enables customers to see building before they choose to buy or commission it. The use of VR can help overcome distance and language barriers.
Desktop Virtual Reality software on personal computers enables user to walk through virtual environment. This VR environment is created by several commercial software that readily available to everybody. However, VR projects, are very limited in in size and complexity, and lack immersive and interactive capabilities.
The CAVE technology can be used in almost every stages in a life cycle of a construction project. For example, an Architecture/Engineering design firm can convert their CAD models of a building into a CAVE-compatible files, view them in the CAVE, I-DESK, or an IRIX 6.3, 6.4 workstation configured as a CAVE Simulator, and have a better ideas what their designs are going to look like. Architects/Engineers can also give the owners a better understanding of the designs, and this may reduce a possibility of changes made by the owners later on. Owners are able to walk-through the virtual building in a immersive environment and request changes they want. Contractor is able to see the virtual building, understand its components, aware of special designs, and come up with the best method to build. A capability to visualize a construction project is almost always useful for all parties involved.
This page contains examples of DXF building models that are converted into Inventor.iv and Performer Binary .pfb files and viewed in the CAVE.
EXAMPLE 1: Johnson's House "The Glass House"
I have converted the following DXF building model to .iv and .pfb format by following the conversion procedure explained in DXF Conversion page. This simple structure is a one story house with a living room, a bar, and a bedroom. The wall are made of glass so that you can see the details inside. This simple house is courtesy of DesignWorkshop. The original model is in .3DMF format. I converted it into AutoCAD DXF format and viewed by AutoCAD 14. Since this CAD model was created with different colors assigned to different objects. Upon viewing with AutoCAD R14, those objects are converted as different layers. I was able to turn some layers off before export it as AutoCAD R12.
Note that conversion procedures in DXF Conversion page applied to AutoCAD R12 DXF only
After obtaining the CAD DXF file of the house. I followed the conversion procedure and load the .iv and/or .pfb into the CAVE (either .iv or .pfb will work) by using pfnav or saranav
There is a slight difference between pfnav and saranav program. Pfnav enables a higher speed for navigation. On the other hand, saranav is a little slower for navigation, but it has more options such as pressing the middle wand button to stop moving.
Figure 5: Johnson House in the I-DESK (Courtesy DesignWorkshop for CAD Model)
You may also view VRML model of Johnson's house with your web browser. Please note that because of a conversion problem, this VRML model did not show all details that were able to see in the CAVE.
View johnson12.wrl Get VRML 2.0 Plug-in
View Mpeg movie johnson.mpg
The .iv and .pfb are too large to be included in this web summary. If you need the dxf, iv, or pfb files of Johnson's house, please let me know. [email@example.com]
For a complete information about Johnson's house by DesignWorkshop click here
Example 2: Maybeck Studio
Maybeck studio is a simple furnished house. It was also created by DesignWorkshop. I obtained the .3dmf format of this CAD model and converted to .iv and .pfb files by following similar procedure as Johnson's house. I then view it in CAVE in the CAVE, I-DESK and, CAVE Simulator using saranav and pfnav. This model has more interior details than Johnson's house, and they looks rather nice. A walkthrough experience in an immersive virtual environment of the CAVE is so amazing. I really felt like I was in the house myself. I almost sat on one of the comfortable-looking chair!
For a complete information about Maybeck Studio by DesignWorkshop click here
Figure 6: Maybeck Studio in the CAVE (Courtesy DesignWorkshop for CAD Model)
You may also view VRML model of Maybeck's Studio with your web browser. Please note that because of a conversion problem, this VRML model did not show all details that were able to see in the CAVE.
View maybeck12.wrl Get VRML 2.0 Plug-in
View Mpeg movie maybeck.mpg
The .iv and .pfb are too large to be included in this web summary. If you need the dxf, iv, or pfb files of Maybeck's Studio, please let me know. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
EXAMPLE 3: Davis's House
This is a small house I loaded into the CAVE and walkthrough. The
procedure of conversion is similar to that of the previous two examples. This CAD
files is very detailed , therefore, very big in size. Davis's House effectively
optimizes both indoor and outdoor space in a small building site. It is Located in Eugene,
Oregon, on 19th Avenue near Villard Street. Drawings by Misako Yamaguchi and
Lawrence A. Martin, University of Oregon. It was also printed in Better Homes and Gardens
Special Issue, 1993.
Figure 7: Davis's House in the CAVE Simulator (Courtesy DesignWorkshop for CAD Model)
You may also view VRML model of Davis's house with your web browser. Please note that because of a conversion problem, this VRML model did not show all details that were able to see in the CAVE.
View Davis_house12.wrl Get VRML 2.0 Plug-in
View Mpeg Movie davis.mpg
The .iv and .pfb are too large to be included in this web summary. If you need the dxf, iv, or pfb files of Davis's house, please let me know. [email@example.com]
to turn the CAVE Simulator on, and vice versa.
Now, you can view your model with the CAVE Simulator by following this guidelines. (Courtesy Dave Pape, EVL-UIC)
Last updated: 05/09/99