When Civil Engineer, Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Katharina Klemt-Albert headed up the Institute of Construction Management and Digital Engineering (ICoM) two years ago, she was determined to emphasise the digital engineering element of the Institute’s remit.
Having enjoyed a career encompassing different top-management positions at Deutsche Bahn AG and having been additionally a CTO of an international engineering and consulting company, she knew what could be achieved with digital methods and visualisation like Virtual Reality (VR) and was determined that ICoM should have the best VR facility available for both teaching and research.
Prof. Klemt-Albert undertook a world tour of University VR facilities and formulated a firm preference for a front-projected curved wall with additional floor for extra immersion. After going out to tender, ICoM chose Virtalis’ ActiveCurve and Floor with its Visionary Render software.
The resulting ActiveCurve and Floor, featuring an array of five blended Barco projectors, is a facility that can easily accommodate a dozen or so students and industrial partners, with one person’s movements in the space tracked via the ART system. Virtalis’ Visionary Render is a dedicated engineering VR platform, capable of real-time rendering of giant data sets, such as entire townscapes or infrastructure models.
Research Assistant at ICoM, Timo Kaufmann, explained: “The focus on the field of digital engineering and the opportunities available at ICoM were the reasons why I decided to do my PhD here at the Institute. The ultra-modern VR system was a major reason for me to concentrate my research on the use of VR in order to make planning easier to understand for architects, their clients, developers, infrastructure providers, local government and residents. Thanks to VR, people will be really able to experience the plans – after all, we all appreciate things more in 3D than 2D.”