Academics at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO, USA) architectural studies department have developed a 3-D Immersive Visualization Lab (iLab) to help civil engineering students visualize their designs more accurately in three dimensions.
Bimal Balakrishnan, an assistant professor of architectural studies in the university’s College of Human Environmental Sciences, says the iLab will be one of few labs in the US to allow undergraduate students to get hands-on experience using immersive 3-D technology to complete and test their designs.
The university's iLab incorporates three large high-definition projection screens aligned side-by-side to create one continuous, horizontal viewing screen. Wearing active shutter glasses, students can view their computer-generated architectural and interior designs on the screen in 3-D. The immersive effect of the large screen gives students the sensation of standing inside the buildings they are designing.
"Visualizing true characteristics in a three-dimensional space is one of the biggest challenges design students face," Balakrishnan says. "The iLab will not only allow students to experience their designs from the inside, but they also will be able to view their designs on a much larger scale and experiment with different textures and styles in real time."
Balakrishnan says building costs for the system were cut in half by designing and assembling the $85,000 iLab in-house.
-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design