If virtual reality is mainly known in the world of entertainment, it is also a tool that is on the verge of revolutionising the construction industry. At Matière®, whether in the creation, modelling, simulation or presentation phase, the advantages of virtual reality (VR) in the design of engineering structures are multiple. Here are some explanations…
What is virtual reality?
By definition, virtual reality (or VR) is a set of techniques that allow virtual elements to be superimposed on a real environment, guaranteeing the user total 360° immersion. It wasn’t until the 1990s and the first immersive headsets that the environment could be visualised in three dimensions with a scale, depth and notion of space that was much more realistic than a traditional rendering.
Virtual reality applied to construction trades
Today, the construction trades have also embraced virtual reality. Visiting an engineering structure before responding to a call for tenders, 3D modelling, 360° captures… RV gives the possibility to immerse oneself in a project, thus greatly improving the projection capacity of clients.
As proof: at Matière®, virtual reality complements the applications. Regardless of the type of bridge, advanced computer simulations enable a project to be fully modelled by incorporating all the aesthetic and technical criteria of the specifications. It is possible to test several scenarios right from the design phase of the structure, speeding up and making the decision-making process more reliable.
Virtual reality at the service of engineering structure design
At Matière®, virtual reality is an integral part of the construction process of engineering structures, from the architect’s office to the building site. In fact, beyond simple 3D visualisation, the tool makes it possible to create surprisingly convincing environments and to get a more palpable feel for local constraints. Reliefs, trees, existing buildings, flows of people and vehicles are examined in detail. Strategic choices are based on a real-time assessment of the project’s functioning.
Virtual reality proves to be an excellent tool to facilitate the understanding of a future structure. Engineers, architects and various trades can “live” the design from the earliest stages and appreciate the project with its final rendering. Navigating indoors, considering space requirements, distinguishing materials, being able to appreciate scales as close to reality as possible… also makes it possible to quickly detect a design flaw. These unexpected situations were previously difficult or impossible to recreate.
Virtual reality to improve the perception of a project
Building a structure is a long and expensive task, and it is a good idea to consider all the variables before laying the foundation stone. This complexity has led the company Matière® to equip itself with 3D design and modelling and data management software to carry out its projects. This enables us to react quickly to requests, thus reducing lead times.
Virtual reality for greater comfort and efficiency
Of course, the speed and power of virtual reality is particularly appreciated. Each specific construction data can be modified at will, immediately integrated with automatic view updates. The worflow implemented makes it possible to regenerate today 10 km of bridge in 2 hours in a real environment, with a maximum level of detail.
With virtual reality, the presentation of a fully modelled project incorporating all the aesthetic and technical criteria of the specifications is completed in just two weeks!
Virtual reality: a decision support tool
And last but not least: 3D models are a decision-making tool, as they allow you to understand, visit and interact with a project in its context, before and during construction. The playful side of the immersive visit brings a new experience to the actors, making it easier for them to adhere!