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    Seattle Office Showcases Full-immersion Virtual Reality for AEC Delivery at Inaugural Rapid Integration Technology Expo

    May 18, 2015

    The Seattle office of Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty company, successfully launched its inaugural Rapid Integration Technology Expo (RITE) with 70-plus clients, partners and peers on May 6, 2015.

    Held at its Seattle office, the event titled Zombies Invading AEC Delivery addressed the importance of informed decision making and speed of delivery. At the event, participants discussed future-state technologies, including full-immersion virtual reality which was initially introduced by the video gaming industry and is now made practical for AEC applications. Use of the virtual reality technology was demonstrated through a case study on the nearly completed Cornish College of the Arts’ Cornish Commons, presented by VRdesign, Ankrom Moisan Architects and Howard S. Wright.  

    The case study highlighted how the team tested the workflow and process of rendering a photo-realistic virtual reality (VR) simulation from the Revit model of the Cornish Commons Project. The study also focused on the value of enhanced decision-making through stakeholder understanding via experiential knowledge.  For example, once in the simulation, items are moveable, and users can change fixtures, paint colors and carpet options. It also allows for coordination of decision making with multiple parties through visual cues on items in the simulation that can be viewed any time, any place. To ground the potential of using VR simulations as design and construction tools, metrics developed from the actual workflow of the case studies were provided to spark the value conversation with the attending audience.

    After the team presented the case study, guests were invited to demo VRdesign’s headset and experience full virtual reality immersion for themselves. “As soon as I put on the glasses, I felt like I was in a normal environment – it was fun," said Darrell Turner, senior planning design & construction manager at CHI Franciscan Health. "To actually live and experience a space in real time is a groundbreaking opportunity for people to understand a space they're going to live and work in before it's even built...virtual reality helps connect those dots so people can do that and act as an advocate for improving the design."
    RITE also showcased advanced current-state technology use with a course by Bluebeam Revu to Digitize Your Workflow and guests experienced Howard S. Wright’s technology platforms in the Interactive Lounge with Digital Docs, SmartBox and 5D/6D technology. Additional featured technology included Freefly System’s Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV) for photography and surveying, Laser Scanning and 3D printing. 
    The success of the event, and the continued quest to provide clients and teams with informed decision making efficiently and effectively, have already set in motion plans for next year’s RITE event!