Virtual Reality using CAD, GIS and Graphics

Virtual Reality using CAD, GIS and Graphics


Marshalltown, USA, November 13, 2007: Mechdyne Corporation announced that its VRCO Inc. subsidiary has demonstrated real-time interaction with professional 3D design tools in high resolution virtual environment, the 100 megapixel C6 Virtual Reality Room at Iowa State University’s Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC). The demonstrations illustrate that VRCO’s Conduit software enables a working environment that allows designers, analysts, seismologists, graphic developers and others to interact with 3D graphics that are almost indistinguishable from reality, with no productivity-limiting data conversion steps.

Using VRCO’s Conduit, 3D models and environments developed in CATIA V5, Pro/ENGINEER, Petrel, Maya, Google Earth, and other applications are displayed from the native applications in real-time, without the need for data translation, in the C6 Virtual Reality Room at Iowa State University’s Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC).

Virtual prototypes and simulated environments have been shown many times to reduce or eliminate the cost of physical testing and to shorten development cycles. Typically, however, users lose productivity in the time and effort to convert the application data models to a format used by VR authoring or viewing tools to process the images for immersive viewing, a process which can take hours or even days. Additionally, the translated data is not necessarily an accurate representation of the original data due to the conversion process. Lastly, this translation approach only shows a ‘snapshot’ of the data, meaning that changes to the original model data could not be made within the VR display in real-time. Any data modifications have to be made in the original application, and then the lengthy translation process started again.

At Iowa State’s Virtual Reality Applications Center, Conduit is resident on a master workstation where it monitors the stream of graphics commands from one of the supported desktop applications, then distributes these commands, in real-time, to the ninety-six GPUs in the world’s largest graphics PC cluster. On each cluster node, the streamed commands are rendered using the appropriate perspective view parameters for the portion of the display driven by the node. The ninety-six graphics pipes feed into twenty-four Sony SXRD projectors (each with four 2048×1080 input channels). The C6 displays imagery stereoscopically, requiring distinct left eye and right eye viewpoints. To accomplish this, one set of twelve projectors (two per wall) is used to generate left eye imagery, and an additional set of twelve projectors is used to display right eye imagery.

“We built the C6 to produce the most realistic virtual reality imagery ever seen,” said Jim Oliver, Director of VRAC. “Seeing native 3D models from CATIA, Google Earth, Pro/ENGINEER and others shows us that there are no limits to what and how we can design, analyze, and experience as part of our research for the university and our corporate partners.”

Conduit’s robust and highly flexible configurability allows it to display data on nearly every commercial and custom multi-projector display system available, regardless of monoscopic, active or passive stereo output. Conduit is commercially available and supports the following applications; 3D Studio Max, AliasStudio, Maya, CATIA, ENOVIA, DELMIA, SolidWorks, ArcGIS 3D Analyst, Google Earth Pro, Pro/ENGINEER, Teamcenter Visualization Mockup, and Petrel. Additionally, VRCO has prototype Conduit modules for Showcase, VoxelGeo, NX, SolidEdge, and Teamcenter Visualization. Other applications can be completed upon request.