WorleyParsons & Imperial Oil
At a demonstration of VizworX’s internal project ‘Panoptica’, WorleyParsons’ team quickly identified a unique solution that would aid one of their clients. WorleyParsons’ focus on finding unique approaches to produce safe and sustainable engineering practices resonated with Panoptica’s potential of an immersive, interactive, and collaborative way to view design models.
Having been inspired by Panoptica, discussions began about creating a solution that mirrored Panoptica’s core vision, but implemented specific requirements and features. With their client, Imperial Oil, having an upcoming design review, the team decided to use that opportunity to demonstrate the potential of our custom solution. Our goal was to create a way to allow multiple users to view, manipulate, comment, and interact with a single model at the same time in real-time. Thus achieving a collaborative environment for a team to inspect and tour a to-scale 3D model together prior to breaking ground on the physical structure.
For this project we had two key collaborators; WorleyParsons, and Imperial Oil. When the project commenced our contact was solely with WorleyParsons, however as the project began to actualize the finer details, their Imperial Oil became a core collaborator. Collaboration and communication is highly valued as all aspects of our solutions are fully customized to fit the needs of our clients.
Multi Device & Technology Approach
This project utilized multiple devices, as well as multiple types of technology to produce the vision, functionality, and quality that VizworX strives for with all projects. In order to overcome many limitations, we used a computer as a server and “commander” while the HoloLens echoed the visualizations in mixed reality, and Apple iPhones, iPods, and iPads as inputs, presentation of additional information and instructions. Since VizworX focuses on individualized products, our team are experts in finding ways to overcome design and technological obstacles.
In addition to the main visualization on the HoloLenses, we also created virtual reality versions on the HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift. This allowed for a fully immersed experience for our clients to compare and contrast between the two solutions.
Like all technologies, limitations cannot always be avoided. The Microsoft HoloLens in particular has limitations in terms of processing, and handling a finite number of vertices. Using machine learning to optimize the data the data was slimmed from over 3 million, down to roughly 400,000 without sacrificing essential components of the model.
Ease of Use
With VizworX’s experience with augmented/mixed/virtual reality, we are able to address common obstacles for utilizing these immersive technologies. We focused on designing user interfaces that were complicated enough to convey the technical depth of the requirements, while simple enough to help those that may experience difficulties. To achieve this balance, the team decided to split certain features into multiple devices, and add tiered permissions. This included having the creation of users, assigning of permissions, and linked device on the computer, have the cursor and viewing on the HoloLens, and interaction, commands, keyboard, and comments on the Apple device. Thus shortening the common learning curve of navigating the HoloLens’s gestures enabling users to focus on the use of the visualization rather than the novelty of the device.
As this project with WorleyParsons served as a showcase and demonstration of the potential, we were thrilled at the comments of the experience as well as the value of our solution. From being able to identify safety concerns, answering design assumptions, finding design flaws, optimizing the design for users, as well as being able to promote conversation, aid in explanations and further reinforce a cohesive team environment. Many different teams that were included in the design review at Imperial Oil found that this approach allowed for a more efficient use of time, kept the entire team engaged even if it was not their department being reviewed, increased inter-team communication, and intra-team communications.