BIM for Smart Engineering Centre
Jointly established by Cardiff University, Dalian University of Technology, China Communications Construction Company
Jointly established by Cardiff University, Dalian University of Technology, China Communications Construction Company

Cardiff University VR Lab includes a significant upgrade in both visualisation and computational fields. The hardware equipment includes private Cloud Computing facility, BIM based IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) facility, Virtual Reality facility, Airborne LiDAR and Motion Amplification Camera.


Private Cloud Computing facility:  A private Cloud computing environment has been successfully set up. It includes High Performance Computing pool (for closely coupled computing tasks, e.g. Parallel Finite Element Analysis etc.), High Throughput Computing pool (for loosely coupled / distributed computing tasks, e.g. large scale energy related simulation/optimization/prediction etc.), Web Service based Contents Management environment and various Cloud computing middleware and services.  The facility can provide 200+ CPU cores, about 1 Terabit shared memory, 10+ Terabit storage and 10 Gigabit main Internet connection speeds; if it needs, the Cardiff BIM Cloud can further connect to other larger Cardiff University HPC services, e.g. 1000+ CPU cores Condor computing environment and the ARRCA HPC centre. This private Cloud provides fundamental computing supports for large scale engineering modelling, simulation, optimization and life cycle big data storage, as well as advanced deep learning capability due to the equipped high performance graphic cards(e.g. Navidia Geoforce 3090, A6000,etc). 


BIM based IPD facility utilizes a 92” high quality multi-touch wall and supporting computing infrastructure to provide 3D/nD BIM based IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) using universal shared single model for building / infrastructure. The solution suits very well for the delivery team working at any stage during building/infrastructure life cycle, when clients, contractors, designers and other stake holders come together to finalize the design/refurbishing/construction conceptual model via the interactive communication with the “digital models”. BIM-based VR Game by former PhD student Dr. Bin Wang.


Mixed Reality Facility includes a whole set of 3D glasses and special hamlet devices, a high end 3D projector, and a Kinect based computer game system (sensors and etc.) with necessary accessories. The developed applications combine BIM with Unity 3D computer game system, which working together with 3D projector / helmet / glasses can help users to merge themselves into a 3D virtual environment, to “feel” the building / infrastructure design / management to explore more feasible design / maintenance alternatives.

Airborne LiDAR is a key enabler for the automated structural health monitoring which capture real-time visual data of outdoors environments, and assist with simulating future scenarios with machine learning. The DJI L1 LiDAR equipped Matrices 300 RTK drone is be able to assist with the computer vision–structural health monitoring in both local level and global level. At the local level, the airborne LiDAR can achieve accuracy of [email protected] which means it shall be able to record the photos of the structures as the basis for crack, spalling, delamination, rust, and loose bolt detection. The global level applications are based on the point cloud models built by the LiDAR scanning and structural behaviour analysis, vibration serviceability and modal identification and updating.  

Motion Amplification Camera Kit enables visualisation of the moving parts of a structure and hence highlight the relative motions and the sites of maximum wear for machineries and large structural components. The rapid visualisation of motion-amplified full field displacements significantly enhances the analysis and post processing of the vibration data. This helps with understanding the full vibration mode shapes, including help with the identification of individual modes, and will replace the intrusive and expensive process of implementing an on-board sensory network on the host structure. Due to its sensitivity and accuracy, it can be used as a validation tool to complements data driven modelling based on measurements from accelerometers which are less sensitive in the low frequency regime. The camera kit provides more insight into the research of vibration analysis and predictive maintenance of structures and machines, thus expand research field to digital twins of buildings, infrastructure and machinery.



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