World’s leading applications taken into practice in Finland
Mobile computing tools for urban and construction planning have developed
dramatically over the past few years. Even by global standards, the progress
made at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has been remarkable.
Augmented Reality technology developed by VTT has enabled the placement of
office and residential construction in the appropriate environment and the
study of the overall concept on-site, even at the planning stage, for example
on a smart phone display.
Would you like to know what kind of view you will have from your back garden,
or your balcony, of the neighbouring block when the planned housing is
eventually completed? And how will that yet-to-be-built office building look
standing on that empty plot you can see on the screen of your smart phone or
This is the cue for a few of the Augmented Reality
applications that VTT has been getting to grips with over the past decade or
so. Combining technology originally developed for video and mobile games with
positioning software has created new areas of application that include urban
and construction planning and interior design.
applications developed by VTT are the first of their kind in the world, and
have caused a considerable stir both at home and abroad.
of recent Finnish applications are the virtual presentations for a tower block
and a projected hotel to city officials in demanding decision making cases. In
both cases the VTT-developed technology was used to place a sketch of the
building in its natural environment. The same images could be examined on site
by using, among other means, a smart phone camera display.
furthest ahead in practical applications
Charles Woodward, Research Professor for VTT’s Augmented Reality field, the
new virtualisation technology brings broadened perspectives not only to the
work of architects and planners but also to the full range of urban planning
and related decision-making.
“Using this technique the
overall concept can take shape at the proper scale and far more realistically
than with the 3D imagery and modelling of traditional design software.
Although principally a design tool, augmented reality is also a tool for
communication, one that can be used to disseminate a more realistic picture of
construction projects in support of resident feedback and decision-making,”
says Woodward, in summarising.
Apart from its benefit to
design and planning professionals, VTT’s Augmented Reality technology also
offers advantages for interior designers of the average household, enabling
the complete redesign and furnishing of an entire living room, for example. In
this case the software application based on VTT’s technology has been
developed by VividWorks Ltd, and is already in use on the website of
Vepsäläinen Ltd, a Finnish furniture chain.
says that commercial interest in the VTT innovation will grow in response to
discovery of new applications for the technology. Potential areas include
property maintenance and services, while the technology is also awakening
interest among construction companies and software houses in the field of
“The technology, for example, enables a “see-through”
application for mapping the position of plumbing and ventilation systems
behind walls and panels,” says Woodward. “In this way we can observe any
changes by comparing the prevailing on-site situation with information that
has been recorded previously.”
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