A deep excavation with tiebacks and struts in virtual reality recorded with Mixed Reality Headsets
What is Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality?
Virtual Reality in Underground Construction:
Virtual reality enables us to simulate a three dimensional physical environment, and potentially interact with digital objects within the virtual space. In a virtual reality set we would need to utilize a VR ready headset. These headsets totally block off our real world view and as a result we are only immersed in the virtual environment. VR headsets work by displaying slightly different images on the right and left eyes and thus creating the illusion of a 3D environment.
Currently, VR headsets are connected to individual computers and as a result we are rather limited in freely moving around. With current VR systems we can move around our 3D model by using dedicated controllers with our hands. It is generally recommended to avoid sudden movements in virtual reality environments as these can result in nausea. VR headsets are very affordable, with starting prices in the $290 range.
Augmented Reality in Underground Construction:
Augmented reality works by superimposing 3D digital objects in relation to the physical world. This works by having an augmented reality device scan a physical space and then creating an internal digital representation of this space that the AR device understands. An augmented reality headset is typically equipped with a series of cameras that continuously detect the real space around us. Once digital objects are placed, the device keeps their position locked in space (unless these objects are instructed to move). As a result, we are able to physically move around the digital objects that we have placed in the real 3D world.
In underground construction this could involve placing existing utilities, tunnels, or future piling in the actual field conditions before anything is being built. Alternatively, as we have done in HoloDeepEX, a model of an excavation can be prepared and we can physically move around our augmented reality deep excavation model. AR headsets are substantially more expensive, currently HoloDeepEX works with the Microsoft HoloLens glasses (developer edition costs from $3300).
Requirements for HoloDeepEX
HoloDeepEX can operate in Windows 10 desktop PCs, mixed reality headsets, or Microsoft HoloLens. Independent graphics card (1060 or greater) is recommended but not required.
The HoloDeepEX viewer can be downloaded for free from the Windows Store. Models can only be generated from DeepEX with the Frame and HoloDeep modules enabled.
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Deep Excavation in Augmented Reality with HoloDeepEX
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