Wearable Tech

NavVis launches two innovative solutions to enhance the creation of immersive environments and to facilitate highly accurate measurement capabilities in indoor environments - including a wearable 3D laser scanner

NavVis, based in Munich with offices in New York and Shanghai, bills itself as the leading global provider of indoor spacial intelligence technology. It is currently making itself known in the building visualisation market in the UK, releasing advanced products aimed at the context capture and 3D laser scanning markets with products that produce survey quality point clouds for the scan to BIM and 3D CAD market or for producing accurate 360 degree navigable images of digital twins, and, most recently, a wearable 3D laser scanning device designed for the acquisition of Point Clouds.

NavVis' principal clients include German automotive industry giants BMW and Daimler as well as Deutsche Telecom and Lenovo, and the complex auto and manufacturing plants of these companies will give you some sense of their work, which entails the capture of complex digital plant and equipment filled interiors to facilitate rapid redesign pending new auto production requirements.

Hence the introduction of new tools in a major new software release of their InsideViewer application, Version 2.6. IndoorViewer enables highly accurate measurements to be taken in point clouds captured within browser-based digital buildings. The release also makes additional features available to structured e57 point cloud files, including automatically generating highly detailed floorplans and routing.

NavVis IndoorViewer takes over from the professionals and allows building stakeholders without the technical expertise to work with point clouds and modeling software, to interact and extract information from the buildings themselves.

Thanks to the realistic digital buildings and intuitive interface, IndoorViewer users across multiple industries can use the measurement tool to take measurements remotely on any device, saving time otherwise spent traveling to the site.

The tool overcomes two of the biggest problems with virtual measurement tools - accuracy and usability. On the one hand, point cloud measurements are quite accurate, but traditional software tools are either inaccessible or unusable for a wide range of building stakeholders who lack expertise in working with point clouds. And even if the tool uses images or even meshes, which are much more user-friendly than point clouds, the measurement tools available are usually not reliable enough to produce accurate results.

The new measurement tool in NavVis IndoorViewer combines the best of both worlds, thanks to a patent-pending magnifying feature that appears when taking measurements in the realistic 360° view. The magnifying feature reveals the exact section of the point cloud behind the image and lets users pick the exact points they require within the point cloud point on which to base their measurements, at the same time benefiting from the intuitive interface of the fully immersive walkthrough.

"When redesigning the measurement tool in NavVis IndoorViewer, we wanted to make sure that a wide range of stakeholders in every industry that works with built environments could benefit from the accuracy of point clouds when taking virtual measurements," said Georg Schroth, NavVis CTO. "We are confident that the new magnifying feature in NavVis IndoorViewer achieves our goal. Now even stakeholders that are unfamiliar with point clouds have an easy, intuitive way to take measurements based on this highly accurate real world data."

Besides enhancing the accuracy of remote measurements, the interface of the tool has also been fully redesigned. This includes a new slider function that lets users view the 2D floorplan and 3D walkthrough side-by-side or move from one view to the other. The dual view provides an overview of the entire building so that users can easily locate an asset or area while also viewing the location in the realistic 360° view. The fully immersive walkthrough makes it possible to virtually move through the area being measured or inspect the asset, as if the user were on site. Measurements being taken show up in both views.

The release of NavVis IndoorViewer 2.6 also introduces new feature support for e57 point cloud files captured by static scanners. Previous NavVis IndoorViewer releases have included a popular feature that lets laser scanning professionals upload structured e57 point cloud files and automatically generate realistic, fully immersive 360° walkthroughs that can be published and shared with clients as a web-based link.

With the release of NavVis IndoorViewer 2.6, two popular features that were previously only compatible with scan data captured by NavVis hardware are now available for point clouds uploaded as structured e57 files. The first is the generation of a navigation graph, which makes it possible to turn static scans into a fully immersive indoor routing tool. The second is the automatic generation of highly detailed floorplans. Now point cloud files uploaded as structured e57 files can be turned into digital floorplans in a few clicks. Version 2.6 of NavVis IndoorViewer is now available. Users can find out more about the release and how to register for a free trial at https://hubs.ly/H0pcN7c0.

Before you can use the NavVis IndoorViewer, you need to create your immersive 3D model. NavVis VLX is a first-of-its-kind wearable mapping system designed for hands-free, all-in-one reality capture, including survey-grade point clouds, and high-resolution panoramas in even the most complex environments such as construction sites, staircases and technical rooms. With its economical and unique design AEC projects are captured with fast, efficient scanning for BIM and CAD applications. It can also be used to create deliverable immersible 3D models for digital twin projects.

The device comes with two LiDAR sensors, and is able to capture survey-grade point clouds using the same groundbreaking SLAM technology that NavVis has developed for its industry-leading indoor mobile mapping system, NavVis M6. This is complemented by high-resolution panorama images captured in a complete 360° field of view from four strategically positioned cameras.

The unique wearable design positions the hardware on the front and top of the operator, providing a number of advantages over backpack models. Wearing the device on the front enables the operator to have more control over where the sensors are scanning, which improves data quality. The operator is also able to view and interact with a built-in screen that provides live feedback of the area being scanned and the quality of the data being captured.

The combination of greater control over the device and hands-free scanning is particularly well-suited to complex environments such as construction sites and manufacturing facilities with obstacles and staircases.

According to its developers, the NavVis VLX was designed to provide the AEC industry with a compact, versatile device that efficiently captures buildings and deliver survey-grade point clouds. Georg Schroth, NavVis CTO, said that "Our industry-leading indoor mobile mapping system, NavVis M6, has really taken off in the two years since its launch because of its ability to quickly capture high-quality data in large commercial and industrial properties. Knowing that there is still an unmet need for high-quality mobile data capture in a wider range of building documentation applications, we set out to develop a more versatile device that can achieve what NavVis M6 does at a smaller scale and on a lower budget."

The wearable mapping system is convenient and economical but delivers the data quality you would expect from a high-end device. NavVis is so confident in the quality of the data it produces that it believes even the biggest sceptics of mobile mapping will be convinced when they see the point cloud and panoramic quality that NavVis VLX can achieve.

The data captured by NavVis VLX can not only be applied to a wide range of applications including conventional building documentation such as CAD drawings and BIM models, but also to innovative digital twin solutions, such as NavVis IndoorViewer. NavVis is launching partnerships with PointCab, ClearEdge3D and Hemminger for Bentley MicroStation, in addition to the existing integration with Autodesk Revit, to ensure that NavVis VLX and NavVis M6 seamlessly fit into existing workflows of third party solutions.