An Example of Using CCC in AEC Industry
By using the mentioned technology, design professional, construction manager, contractor, and owner physically located in different locations are able to immerse in a three dimensional environment of the construction project and have a virtual face-to-face communication. They are represented by avatars. The information about where others are looking and pointing is represented by tracking of heads and arms of the avatars. They can also communicate to each other via a regular conference phone call. CCC allows multiple users to collaborate and design in a shared architectural virtual space and also provides graphical representations of the remote participants located within the user's proximity.
I would like to create a simple scenario to show the use of LIMBO and CAVE Collaborative Console in a construction project.
Mr. Robinson of Christiansburg, VA is a very successful business man. He decided to build a new office building for his company. Thus, he entered into a contract with Mr. Townes, an architect from Designed Solutions, Inc. of Toledo, OH to design the building and provide plans and specifications. Mr. Robinson also entered into a contract with Mr. Best, a construction manager of Construction Management Services of Virginia, Inc., Christiansburg, Virginia, to manage and oversee the construction of the new building. Mr. Best acted as a construction manager at risk where he entered into contracts with all subcontractors involved in the project. Mr. Robinson wanted his building as soon as possible, therefore Mr. Best recommended to build the new office building as a fast track construction project which allowed the construction phase to start before the Architect/Engineer finished all the designs. Mr. Best would review the plans supplied by Mr. Townes, approve and release to subcontractors as the construction proceeds.
Figure 8: The new office building designed by Mr. Townes
View villa.wrl Get VRML 2.0 Plug-in
There is a CAVE located near Mr. Townes's office in Toledo and one located closed to Mr. Best. Both facilities allow the leasing of time in the CAVE. Subcontractors also have various access methods to a CAVE environment via the I-Desk, and the CAVE-Simulator. Mr. Robinson does not have an access to the CAVE, but he has a regular personal computer with web browsers installed.
Mr. Townes is very skillful in the CAD software. He designs 3-dimensional representation of the new building by AutoCAD and DesignWorkshop, and convert the CAD models (.DXF files) into an Open Inventor file (.iv). For instance, Mr. Townes sets up a time to meet in the virtual building with Mr. Best and a subcontractor for a water heater Mr. Townes also informs Mr. Robinson about the meeting and invite him to observe by logging into the CAVE_CAM web page. The CAVE_CAM web page provides a live-video stream of what is showing in the CAVE.
At the appointed time, Mr. Townes starts up the CAVE and loads the building. He then steps inside the CAVE, put the stereo glasses on. Mr. Best and the subcontractor for interior wall have not arrived yet. So, Mr. Townes walks around the building by himself.
In Christiansburg, Virginia, Mr. Best goes to the CAVE and starts up the CCC and connect to Mr. Townes' CAVE. The subcontractor also starts up his I-Desk and connects to Mr. Townes's CAVE. When Mr. Best and the subcontractor are connected, Mr. Townes see 2 avatars: one with the words "Best" and the other with "the subcontractor's name" on it. On the other side, Mr. Best sees 2 avatars with the words " Mr. Townes" and "subcontractor's name" on it. Similar fashion applies to the subcontractor.
Figure 9: Avatar represents Mr. BEST in the new building with Participant List and 2D Radar
The three parties greet one another and get to work. All parties talk to one another via the regular phone (conference call). They navigate to the location where the water boiler will be placed. They discuss key feature and possible alternate designs and model of the boiler. At one point, Mr. Townes want to show an alternative location for the water boiler at the back of the building. Instead of all three parties walk individually to that location, Mr. Townes "tethers" Mr. Best and the subcontractor along with him. Therefore, only Mr. Townes is doing the walking while the Mr. Best and the subcontractor enjoy their ride.
In his office in Christiansburg, Mr. Robinson turns his personal computer on and connect to the internet. He use a web browser to go to the CAVE_CAM web page. Mr. Robinson is now looking at what goes on in Mr. Townes's CAVE. He see exactly what Mr. Townes sees in the CAVE. Mr. Robinson is in a more passive (observation only) mode, however he is able to communicate with all parties via the conference phone call.
Mr. Robinson has questions on the possibilities of using a bigger model of water boiler. They discuss about the demand of hot water in the building, the impact of a bigger size boiler to other components of the building, and additional cost. The subcontractor then loads (delimbo) several 3D models of water boiler that are available in his company into the virtual scene. Mr. Townes grab a model using the wand and try to fit it into a slot designated for the boiler. It does not fit. Therefore, he will have to redesign the location of the boiler.
Figure 10: Mr. Townes is looking at Mr. Best and water boiler models
When they have accomplished what they wanted to, they say good bye and leave the building. Each party ends the session on their own CAVE computer afterward. Mr. Townes returns to his office and modifies the CAD file according to what was agreed upon. He then converted into an Inventor file and upload to the server. He will furnish a plan according to the new design to Mr. Best in a few days.
Last updated: 05/09/99