In the Virtual Engineering Laboratory, the potential and impact of the latest innovations in production, interaction and visualization on architectural planning and construction processes are examined and evaluated. The aim is to develop and evaluate integrated IT-based planning and production methods and procedures
The focus is on the interactions of planning processes and specific production processes with the aim of securing quality and efficiency increases and thus improved decision-making. The prerequisite for the successful use of the computer-based tools is the availability of geometric, topological and semantic product information in a consistent digital data model. On this basis, a cyclical planning process is set up that forges the product modelling, immersive visualization, rapid prototyping, manual processing and digital feedback using 3D scanning into a closed development cycle. In line with principle-based reverse engineering, design and shape-giving principles and typologies are analysed and used as modelling rules. Also important is the inclusion of production-related requirements and constraints in the design process. The following technologies are maintained in the laboratory:
- The Haptic Device System is used to model complex free-form shapes, with tactile perception of virtual models through force feedback functionalities. The system is well suited to use in the early model planning stages.
- Powerful rapid prototyping facilities are available for transforming virtual part-models into reality. The products created with laser cutters, 3-axis milling machines and 3D printers are used for the haptic inspection of the plan and can be manually modified to improve construction, function and design.
- Stationary and mobile 3D scanners used as part of reverse engineering procedures capture any free-form objects as the basis of the architectural design.
- Active 3D stereo projection system with gesture control and tracking support. Small workgroups can intensively discuss individual steps and issues in the virtual planning process and make sound planning decisions based on realistic visualizations.
The selection of the used tools focuses on technical components that are currently on the threshold of being used in architectural planning, and in the medium term will be used routinely by architects everywhere.