Immersive engineering is under-pinned by 3D and real-time visualization. It is through the realisation that they lend themselves to achieving greater realism and improved understanding that designers, constructors and operators of infrastructure reach higher and further than previous generations. When coupled with innovations in augmented reality, robotics and sensor technologies, engineers are being nudged and prodded toward new capabilities and alternative perspectives on what their discipline can involve - or where it might lead to.
The Fraunhofer Institute of Germany says of their own facility, "The Immersive Engineering Lab is a modern work and presentation environment that immersive 3D images allows to accurately and realistically achieve faithful real-time visualization." OGSystems talks about immersive engineering as an enabler of pursuing business process - "Graphic recorders and facilitators empower innovative thinking through concept visualization and active collaboration."
Through projects like that at RWTH Achen University where "Learning 4.0 - Virtual Immersive Engineering Education" unveils guidelines and trends in immersive engineering, we begiin to see and learn about the crossing inter-relationships of new technologies and concepts in engineering design. The folks at Uber Engineering talk about "Engineering Intelligence Through Data Visualization At Uber" and they point to the fact that "Every day, Uber manages billions of GPS locations. Every minute, our platform handles millions of mobile events. Every time we don’t use technology to analyze and interpret this information is an opportunity missed to better understand our business."
Today the integration of data is not enough. New technologies are capturing data at phenomenal rates and databases are rapidly growing and filling space. Immersive engineering points to the need - and direction - for analyzing this data, for extracting value and for improving knowledge, education and experience in business processes to gain competitive advantage and to create new knowledge.
While we speak about building information modeling (BIM), as example, it is surely not enough to collect enterprise data alone and integrate it. We need to see it become useable and to achieve gain. Accordingly, the rise of simulation within infrastructure design and construction is more complete than previous times. Bentley Systems, for example, uses AECOsim Energy Simulator and Hevacomp to study energy simulations within new building designs. Dassault Systems 3DExperience SIMULIA looks at simulations of new product designs, trying to understand pros and cons of new design options.
On the geographic information system (GIS) side of the equation we have seen a prolonged focus on gathering spatial data and integrating it. But a much lesser focus on why it useful, where it can be used and how it leads to positive change in the future. Nevertheless, Esri ArcGIS 3D GIS software is taking spatial data that is geo-referenced and performing analysis upon this information and creating striking visualizations in 3D that enable new understanding and knowledge about small and large scale relationships between different kinds of spatial data.
Immersive engineering is leading us toward new alterntives, new possibilities and asking us to think about possibilities in ways we only imagined before. It aims to not only capture and store data, but to emphatically and diligently exercise analytical power and focus. If we wish to see more from our data then we need to commit to immersive engineering more openly.