Case Studies

Exploring Endless Possibilities with Virtual Reality

Exploring Endless Possibilities with Virtual Reality

Beijing Computing Center (hereinafter referred to as the “BCC”) is one of the oldest and most influential organizations that specializes in the application and promotion of computer technology across China. Committed to exploring cutting-edge digital applications, BCC set up a Virtual Reality Division in 2012 as a response to the cloud computing trend, specializing in integrated rendering, reverse engineering, digital processing, virtual reality development, and other technical services.

The Virtual Reality Division at BCC possesses extensive experience in digital scanning. Equipped with various types of scanning and 3D printing equipment, it provides professional services to a wide range of industries, including urban planning, medicine, entertainment, culture and arts, virtual simulations, emergency response rehearsals, heritage restoration, product exhibition, education, and cultural studies.
 

Reliability: Long-Term Usage

In 2010, BCC acquired one of FARO’s 3D laser scanners and gained some experience in using the device. Due to an expansion in business scope, the team soon found that its measurement needs increased both in terms of frequency and precision. As a result, the Virtual Reality Division decided to purchase a unit of FARO’s latest device – the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X 330 – in 2015, in order to cope with the acquisition of 3D data in large spaces. Capable of scanning at distances of up to 330m, the Focus3D X 330 boasts of high scanning speeds (up to 976,000 data points per second) at millimeter-accuracy. At a weight of just 5.2 kg, the device is highly portable and can easily handle a variety of scanning tasks, whether they are done indoors, or outdoors under the sun.

“Currently, we put our FARO Laser Scanner to good use rather frequently,” said Mr. Xiang Lei, an engineer from the Virtual Reality Division at BCC. He explained, “So far, we have used it to scan the Great Wall and the large dinosaur at the Natural History Museum. Other more typical applications include the development of a tour navigation guide for Dajue Temple Scenic Area, and the simulation of water hammer effect in thermal stations.”

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Scanning a statue with the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X 330.
 

Virtual-reality Simulation Project: The Water Hammer Effect in Thermal Stations

The Virtual Reality Division at BCC was commissioned to develop an animated simulation of the water hammer effect as observed in a thermal station.

Regional thermal stations are an integral part of Beijing’s central heating system. A thermal station is akin to an interchange where heat energy is exchanged – it is a ‘meeting place’ between the heat source and end customers, and also where hot and cold water cross paths. Heat energy that is generated at the plant is distributed through the primary grid to various regional thermal stations. There, the water temperature is stepped down with circulation pumps before it is further distributed to residential areas.

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Photograph of the pump room at the thermal station.

During the process of temperature reduction, a phenomenon known as the water hammer effect can cause spillage or stoppage in the pumping stations. In severe cases, it may lead to floods in the pump room, equipment damage, or even personnel injury. These incidents are undesirable as they affect the heating service for areas that are supported by the affected thermal station.

The objective of the project was simple – the team was to develop an animated simulation of the water hammer effect. To do so, the team had to conduct a comprehensive scan of the thermal station to acquire the data. Practically speaking, the complex piping network and the heat on the pipes made it impossible for the team to obtain measurements manually. Besides, with indoor ambient temperatures hovering above 30°C, it was intolerable for any staff member to withstand being in the room for an extended period of time.

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A screenshot from the final video showing pipes with some post-processing effects, created with the point cloud data captured by the FARO 3D Laser Scanner.

However, with the FARO 3D Laser Scanner, the team was able to acquire pipeline data in a breeze, with no impact imposed on the normal operation of the device. Using the scanned data and photographs acquired by the device, Computer Centre managed to complete and deliver the video demonstration successfully.

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A glimpse of the final project delivery, based on data collected by the FARO Laser Scanner.
 

Tour Navigation Guide Project: Dajue Temple Scenic Area

Dajue Temple, also known as Xishan Dajue Temple (or Dajue Chansi), is located in Yangtaishan, Haidian District, Beijing. Built in the Liao Dynasty, it was renamed Dajue Temple after restoration. In this project, the Virtual Reality Division was tasked to develop a touch-screen tour navigation guide of the scenic area. With this guide, tourists can view a 3D rendering of the Dajue Temple Scenic Area directly on a touch-screen device and gain an overall understanding of the location.

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Stage 1 – Point cloud data as captured by the FARO 3D Laser Scanner

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Stage 2 – Digital model constructed with the point cloud data acquired by the team

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Stage 3 – Post-processing rendering
 

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Stage 4 – Images of the navigation guide, after post-processing with added CG effect.

When asked about the future, Mr. Ji Hong, Manager of Virtual Reality Division was optimistic about further collaborations with FARO. He shared, “We hope that FARO products can be used in better ways, and we look forward to even more advanced products and services from FARO. As a user of the product, we certainly view the cooperation as one that is long-term. Since we plan to continuously develop our data acquisition business, equipment advancement is naturally very important to us, as it will enhance our productivity.”
 

About Beijing Computing Center

Beijing Computing Center (hereinafter referred to as “BCC”) is one of the oldest and most influential organizations that specialize in the application and promotion of computer technology in China.

The Virtual Reality Division, a department of BCC, possesses extensive experience in digital scanning. Equipped with various types of scanning and 3D printing equipment, it provides professional services to a wide range of industries, including urban planning, medicine, entertainment, culture and arts, virtual simulations, emergency response rehearsals, heritage restoration, product exhibition, education and cultural studies.

For more information, please visit http://www.bcc.ac.cn

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