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Virtual & Augmented Reality

VR to help with planning and construction

Whenever a large-scale construction project is announced, members of the public or residents are invariably quick to protest. Virtual reality can help defuse such conflict.

13 Nov. 2017
Source: Baden-Württemberg Stiftung GmbH
Source: Baden-Württemberg Stiftung GmbH

Most local opposition can be clearly put down to a "communication problem", which can, however, be solved using VR simulations, according to the " Visualizing Building Projects " practical guidelines. These guidelines have been drawn up as part of the Visualization in the public participation process ( VisB+ ) research project in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and the University of Hohenheim .

Through virtual reality, members of the public can explore buildings, play through usage scenarios, gauge the impact on the landscape, or check visual links: 3D visualizations "help describe links clearly and tangibly. And they facilitate objective, constructive discussion." A further big advantage of virtual reality is that it makes it considerably easier to compare alternatives. Digitally, a facade can be quickly modified, an access road quickly moved.

The guide doesn’t just focus on high-end visualizations, however, but also on conventional visualizations, such as architecture models and renderings. The devices and technical terms are explained. Examples of good and bad visualizations are also provided, among other things, and the cost/benefit ratio of various methods shown.

If construction then goes ahead, the Ruhr-University Bochum can further help with comparable technology: The scientists here want to make building sites safer with interactive VR training, by making it possible for users to experience potential hazards virtually.

The technology aims to help occupational health and safety experts check building sites in advance for areas of risk and plan appropriate safety precautions.