Monthly Archives: February 2016

Virtual Architectures at the QEOP Smart Park Demonstrator

From Saturday 13th of February to Sunday 21st February the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) held a 9 day ‘Smart Park’ demonstrator event at the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Exhibits were provided by The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) and the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC).

As the event was held during school half-term the exhibits were specifically aimed to engage youngsters. My contribution on behalf of CASA was an immersive virtual reality fly-through of a 3D model of the Olympic Park created using CityEngine and Unity with the Ordnance Survey’s MasterMap and Building Height data. In order to capture the imagination of visitors the tour was presented as a magic carpet ride. The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was used to provide the sense of immersion while a specially prepared soundtrack and an electric fan were used to heighten the impression of flight by simulating rushing wind.

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During the course of the week the event was attended by over 1500 local, national and international visitors. In this way we were able to engage the public with the Olympic Park’s work to create a data rich 3D model of the park for the purpose of ‘smart’ day to day management and planning of the park. This also served as an opportunity for a gentle introduction to my own research into the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies for the purpose of providing spatial intelligence and facilitating real time decision making in a fun and engaging way. Further work will focus on the use of the LLDC’s 3D model of the park and various emerging interaction technologies as a means for interfacing with the site’s underlying operational data infrastructure.

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Also exhibiting on behalf of CASA was Sharon Richardson who is conducting research into sensing and evoking behavioural change in urban spaces through dynamic data sources and the Internet of Things. Sharon’s exhibit used a web cam and computer vision to sense the emotional state of visitors and present it back to them as a visualisation in real time. Going forward Sharon hopes to take control of the Park’s fountains to visualise the emotional state of the park.

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UCLIC’s contributions included their VoxBox and a robot Roam.io. Developed in partnership with the Intel Collaborative Research Institute (ICRI) these provide novel and engaging interfaces for ‘soft sensing’ of visitor opinions.

Jointly these ongoing collaborations will investigate and contribute to aspects of the LLDC’s participation in a pan-European programme for Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) which focuses on four primary areas of the park’s daily operation:

  • Resource Efficient Buildings – Focusing initially on the iconic London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena, this workstream will create tools and approaches to enable low cost, low energy, low environmental impact management and maintenance of future ready non-domestic buildings.
  • Energy Systems – The energy systems workstream will create an efficient, smart, low carbon, resilient energy ecosystem, with specific focal points including optimisation of district energy systems, community engagement and benefits and increased renewable energy generation.
  • Smart Park / Future Living – Implementing user facing digital and data solutions that deliver financial and CO2 efficiencies and prioritise quality of life improvements for those who live, work and visit the Park.
  • These are all underpinned by the fourth workstream, Data Architecture and Management – Implementing efficient and robust data management solutions that support the identification and trialling of innovative solutions and provide the foundation for improved Park operations, user experience and approaches that can be replicated by others, including through the London Data Store.

The SSD project is overseen by Climate-KIC, one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Our thanks to the LLDC and the management of ArcelorMittal Orbit for a fun and eventful week!

Images courtesy of Twitter user Ben Edmonds @benjaminpeter77.

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