2019 funded project #1 - 3D MOVE upgrade for visualising BIM

Principal Investigator: Ranjith K Soman (PhD student)

Co-investigator: Dr Long Chen, Alexander Zhou, Dr Luigi Mosca, Prof Jennifer Whyte

Scope/objectives: The primary objective of this research is to extend the 3DMOVE, a collaborative immersive visualization environment, to utilize the opportunities offered by advancement in Game engine such as Unity and Unreal. The scope of this project is limited to the refinement of the software aspect of 3D Move while retaining the 3D Cave setup.

Fit with the vision and aims of the Centre: The current project is in alignment with the theme 2 of the Centre. It builds on the previous research on the development and testing of 3D MOVE conducted by Prof Jennifer Whyte and team at Design Innovation Research Centre at University of Reading.

Methods/work plan: The first stage of the research is to test the 3D MOVE as it is and run the simulations in the existing software framework. The second stage of research is to develop the software for 3D MOVE using latest versions on Unity and MiddleVR. This stage is followed by the evaluation of the new setup with the existing models. Once the evaluation is complete, the setup is tested with 3D models of current projects and the workflow for importing the models is tested. The last stage of the research is to document the findings in the form of a white paper.

Potential industry impact: The proposed project offers opportunities to bring a collaborative visualization environment within a smaller budget. The refined software is expected to improve the visualization experience inside the CAVE environment.

Added value: The current project can be used as a test bed to conduct fututre research which needs collaborative visualization. The coding in the Unity environment is extensible, enabling further tests and experimentation scenarios to be added to the framework.

Follow on plans: The proposed research will lead to the creation of a VR testbed for collaborative immersive visualization. Also, the test results of the development would lead to a conference paper.

2019 funded project #2 - Fuzzy extensions of the BIM

Principal Investigator: Dr Miguel Molina-Solana

Co-investigator: Dr Fernando Bobillo (external) / Dr Juan Gómez-Romero (external)

Scope/objectives: The goal is to apply and validate our previous theoretical proposal on extending BIMs with fuzzy logic reasoning capabilities into a real use case relevant for CSEI researchers and their industry partners. Particularly, we plan to 1) create a decision-making support tool over an existing BIM that leverages our scientific proposal, and 2) provide expertise on how the links between entities can be made more flexible and thus increasing the expressive power.

Fit with the vision and aims of the Centre: This project is most related with Theme 2 (interdependencies) and 3 (lifecycle) of CSEI, and particularly aims at validating our innovative proposal for enhancing the power of BIM into the building sector in a real scenario. If successful, it can provide a competitive advantage to the companies using the solution.

Methods/work-plan: The project is planned as a validation of an existing proposal. Therefore, we aim to work closely with CSEI researchers during the whole project. We expect them to provide a real BIM that will serve as test case, and to act as domain experts. The planned steps are: 1) agree on a use-case, 2) obtain the associated BIM, 3) develop the decision support tool, 4) validate the tool with the experts, 5) plan next actions and future work.

Potential industry impact: Additional expressive power in BIMs will enable construction companies to obtain additional insights from the knowledge already contained in them. The use of fuzzy logic and ontologies also enable interoperability with a wider set of resources (including the semantic web and knowledge graphs).

Added value: Our tool will enable imprecise queries such as “all high height windows”, “big rooms that are close to two small rooms” that are not possible with current BIM technologies.