ARchi: Visualizing BIM Data with XR

Thursday 31 October 2019

ARchi, an innovated tool for architects, building designers, and engineers to convert BIM data into realistic 3D. ARchi improves design review and construction processes by 1:1 precious 3D scenes and multiple interactive methods, from 2D floor plan and plain model to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). With ARchi, create an immersive experience which people never felt before.

It takes multiple teams to turn buildings from vision to reality. But as clients’ timelines become tighter and project requirements get more complex, it is imperative for stakeholders across the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry to quickly iterate and make the right design decisions.

 

We created ARchi: a powerful product designed to make it easy to create immersive and interactive experiences. With ARchi, BIM/CAD models from multiple software are converted to a federated realistic 3D view, enabling your project stakeholders to review and make smart design decisions directly.

ARchi accelerates the project lifecycle for buildings and infrastructure by bringing realistic 3D to anyone. Being able to visualize projects clearly (both during design and in the field), identify mistakes before they become downstream problems, and drive consensus keeps projects on track and on budget.

 

ARchi is accessible to all project stakeholders, regardless of their level of technical expertise. In fact, to use the product, you don’t need to be an architect or know how to draw the floor plan. But if you are an architect or designer, you can verify and explain to your end-users much better upon ARchi to create the best experience for all people.

Move One Step Ahead

Our collaboration with BigPlan and STH is pivotal to streamlining AEC workflows. With the professionals, we’re making it easier to turn 3D data into immersive, interactive experiences on any platform. 

Victoria State Government held a workshop on building the Wantirna Aged Service Center project in NORTH MELBOURNE. Participants are responsible for the operation of Victoria Health and Human Service (VHHS) and EasternHealth, STH for architectural design, event planning Bigplan Melbourne. The Wantirna Senior Center is the Victorian government allocated $82 million in projects in 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to evaluate the space design and renovation of the facility. As a project partner, Darkspede provided an interactive system for architectural design visualization (ArchiViz), which provided the entire workshop with information not available on traditional design reviews through XR's interactivity and expressiveness.
 

Visualization has become a vital part of the design process, particularly in the AEC industry where time is money. Immersive experiences are becoming the norm, and ARchi cuts down on dead time between revisions and meetings, which is critical to giving the shared customers a competitive edge.

How ARchi Works

No need for complicated interface operations, the AR roaming system designed by the Darkspede XR team allows users to move freely in a large space of the order around hundreds of square meters.

 

Stakeholders can review the rendering on the platform of their choice: iOS, Android, Mac, PC, AR/VR devices, and more. That means you don’t need to be in the same room — or on the same device – to get on the same page. For instance, one participant can review on a VR headset, another can use a tablet to create an AR tabletop experience, and others can access the real-time 3D experience on their laptops.

Advantages of XR technology

Accurate millimetre-level positioning allows users to experience every inch of space. The simple operation allows anyone of any degree to immediately understand how to interact with such a system. In terms of spatial expressiveness, AR can enable various project stakeholders, from clients to field construction teams to design through their own visual experience, use their imagination to obtain information from all angles. 

 

Stakeholders share ideas and provide instant feedback, designers can make changes in their design applications (e.g., relocating doors, adding windows, and adjusting lighting, materials, and textures) 

Check the design mistakes in advance

This type of workshop is often required on large projects, where people in each area communicate the progress of the project, explore the development of the project and assess the current status of the project. In many cases, there are inconspicuous designs in the design that lead to more resources to fix these mistakes later. It is difficult to review project status and gather stakeholder feedback in traditional evaluation methods.

At this seminar, the customer found that the size of the designed elevator was a standard commercial elevator size, and the length was not enough when placing a bed with additional equipment in the elevator. There is nothing wrong with this design, but in a facility such as an aged care centre, this special need is ignored by the designer, and when the facility is built, it costs expensive money to rebuild. It is XR's sense of space that makes customers feel that the elevator compartment is too small, so try to put a real proportion of special beds in it, so as to find the problem, let the designer correct it in time, and reduce the loss of millions. 

 

In addition, when designers evaluate their designs through XR, they find that some cabinet doors are installed in a location that is not easily opened by users. Some styles of decoration are not suitable for specific residents. The sooner these problems are discovered, the more they can be saved.

Communicate in a VR environment

Visualizing projects in the VR headset and other augmented reality platforms are becoming increasingly important in the industry. Designers need to constantly express their ideas to customers, and also need to integrate customer needs in design. 

 

In such a workshop, it is the best time for designers to conduct immersive, interactive design reviews to users. For more intuitively understand the sense of space in the design, Darkspede XR team provides a BIM-visual VR system. Customers can express their feelings about the design and provide feedback to the designer directly in the VR environment. Also, the designer can at the same time interpret their own design concepts. 

 

In the same reference environment, the exchanges between the two sides have become more smooth. In the early stage of the project, the decision on the design content is not absolute. The iteration of each design version is to improve the design content, eliminate defects and hidden dangers, reduce the risk caused by the formal construction of the project and avoid losses caused by mistakes.

Unconstrained roaming experience

The  XR system uses the spatial positioning system developed by the Darkspede XR team. Compared with the traditional positioning method, this technology can seamlessly combine real space and virtual space by detecting the surrounding environment characteristics on the device itself to match the relative position, what makes the application more extensive and concise. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, the size of the space, the XR positioning technology avoids the spatial misalignment and causes the user's visual signals to be out of sync.

Think Out of Box

Whether you’re attempting to win a bid, striving for internal alignment, or seeking client approval, ARchi can be used at any design review stage. It allows multiple stakeholders of any level of technical sophistication to review realistic 3D models simultaneously on a wide range of supported devices.

For a non-technical stakeholder like a project owner, you can use a tablet to create an augmented reality (AR) tabletop experience or make the review truly immersive in a VR headset, instead of showing a 2D blueprint or a static PDF. And for technical stakeholders like architects, building designers, and engineers, ARchi’s ability to merge multiple BIM/CAD datasets allows everyone to get on the same page and get ahead of downstream errors. 

 

Now, ideas and feedback can be implemented in virtual instead of construction works. This cuts down on lost time in between review meetings and revisions and ultimately helps you stay ahead of project timelines.

Enhance the quality of your design review experience

For many use cases, the level of rendering quality ARchi provides will be more than sufficient for reviewing projects. But in other instances, such as attempting to win a bid or during client review, you may want to use ARchi to present a more polished model.

 

This could include bringing in additional BIM or CAD data to show the real-world environment surrounding the project, or adding configurator options to run through the different floor and furniture materials, for example. For projects that require stunning visualizations and high visual fidelity walkthroughs, you can also take advantage of ARchi’s myriad capabilities to create photorealistic environments.

Make design reviews more immersive with AR and VR wearables

ARchi supports iOS and Android devices (including AR capabilities), desktops (Mac and PC), and the Oculus. If you wish to extend projects to other platforms and devices, we keep working on taking advantage of its capabilities to deploy to over 25 platforms, including Microsoft HoloLens, HTC Vive, GearVR, Google Daydream, and many others. Over time, we will expand native platform support for ARchi so you can have the immersive experience on these platforms.

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