I had the opportunity to experience the gamers device, the Oculus Rift, at a recent Lancashire Construction Best Practice Club event on BIM, courtesy of Vin Sumners from Clicks and Links, taking a virtual tour through the Manchester Town Hall linked to the BIM model for that project.
Interesting to see then that Second Life friend, Jon Brouchoud at Arch Virtual is pushing commercial boundaries of BIM and Oculus Rift in his article BIM Goes Virtual: Oculus Rift and virtual reality are taking architectural visualization to the next level
“The first thing people do when they put on the Rift is to reach out trying to touch the walls or furniture they see in the virtual model, even it doesn’t really exist,” said Jon Brouchoud, “It’s an almost involuntary reaction, which I think that says a lot about how immersed they are. They really do feel as if they’re occupying a completely different place.”
(Jon presented live from the USA / Second Life at the first Be2Camp event way back in 2008, there is a link to Jon’s Be2camp presentation on slideshare here)
At the time I tried the Oculus Rift I commented that we can add much more data, augmented reality, into the virtual experience, for example when touching walls, if we could see for example the sustainability data of components, health data, manufacturing data, time to replacement and cost data.
But more importantly such gaming devices can make construction and BIM exciting for all generations, fostering greater collaboration across disciplines in both a virtual and real environment – Gaming Down Barriers.
Gaming Down Barriers is the title of a Innovation Voucher funded report produced by Martin Brown and Paul Wilkinson for Clicks and Links which should be publicly available in the near future. The report makes the argument that BIM through gaming could break down collaborative working barriers as did the original Building Down Barriers programme.