Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Virtual reality for data display

Virtual reality has brought about a fundamental change in the way that information is displayed. A UK company that is highly specialised in process safety and performance engineering utilised this advanced information technology for presenting data results coming from research work. This application, named Superscape Virtual Reality, enables non-experts to investigate the safety of tunnels, mines and other underground spaces for their design assessment or potential accident investigation in the most cost-effective way.
Virtual reality for data display
Virtual reality (VR) consists of a computer-simulated environment where users can interact with hardware, software and devices for simulating a true-life environment. It features high performance computer graphics, extremely specialised software, and facilities for visual, tactile, and auditory information. Among its wide ranged applications VR is extensively used in the engineering industry because it makes experimental data, which is otherwise difficult to represent, easier for them to display.

Within this context, the Superscape VR programme offers its users with the unique capabilities of data transfer, analysis and display techniques of modern technology. Creating a user-friendly environment, non-experts users are now able to exploit processed experimental data and data coming from three dimensional computational fluid dynamic models to visualise results.

A typical scenario for metro operators involves the real-time representation of a tunnel with all its stationary characteristics such as trains, along with the display of two dimensional, semitransparent images of computed results of cross-sectional planes or surfaces. These results may be representations of temperature or pressure and are coloured contours with similarly coloured, superimposed spot values of data. Moreover, the system is capable of presenting three-dimensional images of the computed field of smoke density where the visibility through smoke clouds is also quantitatively shown.

The merits of the Superscape system include a realistic observation of results as they dynamically evolve over time and space. Due to the utilisation of unlimited geometries and results images, this virtual reality package is highly customisable and extendible. It is an outstanding platform for the awareness of a situation that would otherwise require numerous real-life encounters and costly hours of investigation. Furthermore, it consists of an operationally and competitively essential technology for safety organsations and it is expected to bring a fundamental change in the way that they operate.

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