Dr Simon Jones will be presenting his Extended Abstracts paper, “Exploring Data in Virtual Reality”, at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Montreal this week. Throughout the LOCM project we have been involved in designing innovative new data visualisations and dashboards to support engineering teams – but what does the future hold for data visualisation and exploration? Virtual Reality (VR) has often been discussed as a promising medium for immersive data visualization. However, few studies have evaluated users’ open-ended exploration of multi-dimensional datasets using VR and compared the results with that of traditional (2D) visualizations. Using a workload- and insight-based evaluation methodology, we conducted a user study to perform such a comparison. We find that there is no overall task-workload difference between traditional visualizations and visualizations in VR, but there are differences in the accuracy and depth of insights that users gain. Our results also suggest that users feel more satisfied and successful when using VR data exploration tools, thus demonstrating the potential of VR as an engaging medium for visual data analytics.
Members of the LoCM team are preparing for an inaugural workshop of the EPSRC Platform grant (see previous news item) to be held at The 25th International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering (TE2018) in Modena on July 3rd. To realise the ‘Manufacturing the Future’ utopia, requires ‘Designing the Future’ through the development of tools and competences for future resilient manufacturing; this future builds on the past and present (product and associated service knowledge) but anticipates and predicts the needs of the future by creating a new breed of ‘Trans-Disciplinary Design-Engineer’. This vision needs design and manufacturing researchers to: (1) create a trans-disciplinary suite of tools (e.g. a toolkit depository) and an intellectual framework to support the next- generation 3D/4D additive, traditional subtractive and hybrid manufacturing communities; (2) capture and integrate known design expertise across sectors into a local feed-forward hub to accelerate the integration of new materials, processes and technologies into existing and future products; (3) develop trans-disciplinary engineers (at the boundary of design-manufacturing) to accelerate the ‘manufacturing the future’ outcomes into tangible products and wealth.
In this regard, the workshop will focus on answering the following questions:
- How can we understand and characterise domain specific disruptive change occurring through new manufacturing technologies? And
- How do we rapidly engineer an integrated design and manufacturing tool kit to enable cross-sector uptake of these new technologies?
Prof Hicks and Dr Snider have worked with colleagues in the manufacturing division at Bristol to develop a very timely project aiming to create a platform (tools, methods and hardware) that enables the automated twinning and revision control of digital models and physical prototypes during prototyping. The research and technical challenges include: methods for determining and characterising changes to digital models and psychical models, means for automatically constructing/modifying digital models, process planning approaches for hybrid (additive and subtractive) modification of prototypes, and revision control methodologies. The 4 year £1.65M project includes a number of collaborators from the LoCM project (Autodesk and Altuity) and will commence in the summer of 2018. More details can be found here and the project website can be accessed via the Design and Manufacturing Futures Lab website (here).