Arsenal Virtual reality systems

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Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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2 Technology

3 Systems

6 VirtualLab

8 Profile

Arsenal

Virtual reality
systems








Today the opportunity to use 3D digital visualization and Virtual Reality (or
Simulation) structures, that offer an innovative technological support of great
impact for the communication and divulgation and push toward a new approach
to the cultural and scientific heritage, is concrete.
Arsenal has been developing and producing in this sector since 1998, thanks to a
solid background acquired in the industrial application of the simulation in the
military field.
The Virtual Reality that Arsenal presents is the one that fits in the definition:
interactivity, free movement in the scene, manipulation of virtual objects,
immersive and possibly stereoscopic vision.
The most popular aspect of the Virtual Reality is its 3D visualization. However,
this technology offers other powerful applications that are not to be neglected
such as remote control, physics-based and dynamics-based simulation, and those
so-called Augmented Reality applications, where information related to the
observed context is generated.
In order to have the complete control of its own projects, Arsenal developed its
platform for Virtual Reality applications, based on the open-source software
OSG (OpenSceneGraph), to the development of which Arsenal plays a key role.


Virtual Reality - Engineering
Our projects are not limited to the development of
applications and graphic contents, but they often
include the definition and the integration of hardware
systems that are specific to each application. Arsenal
also commissions sensing and telemetry systems, if
needed.
A typical example is our VirtualCamera (V-CAM),
realized for live TV broadcasting of sports events,
especially sailing races, or X-CAM, employed in the
ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) sector as in the
URBIS system for the monitoring of transportation
line vehicles. and environmental data of the city.
There is more information on these projects in the
inside pages.

3D & multimedia

Arsenal uses some of the tools employed in the Virtual Reality
also for projects that do not require particular technical
functions but do require more emphasis on the image quality
and communication, such as 3D animations and multimedia
presentations. Thanks to its background, it is easier for
Arsenal to interpret and successfully represent the technical
and commercial proposals of industrial firms, scientific
institutions and public bodies. The tools that we use the most
for the 3D CAD and the animation are Rhinoceros and
Lightwave, for the video and the hypermedia are Adobe
Première and Macromedia Director. Moreover, the Video
Streaming and 360° panoramic images techniques have been
part of our web experiences since their appearance.


2
Technologies
OpenSceneGraph

Virtual Reality projects are almost always unique and
complex, because of the number of variables present in
the same reality that it is to be simulated. That explains
why there are not user-friendly applications, as there are
for word processing or photo retouching. Virtual Reality
projects are realized in programming environments,
where the resources are specialized libraries, that require
the creation of software code. These environments can be
either proprietary or open source. Arsenal, after having
employed commercial tools such as WorldToolKit by
Sense8, has then adopted OpenSceneGraph (OSG), an
open source software, to the development of which our
company cooperates actively with its own resources. The
reasons for this choice have also been, besides the
particularly interesting characteristics and performances
of OSG, the opportunity to have the complete control
over the development environment.
OpenSceneGraph has been adopted by important
organizations, such as N.A.S.A. for the visualization of
the Earth, and industries such as Boeing for the flight
simulation.
To know more about OpenSceneGraph:
http://www.openscenegraph.org/featuresngoals.

CAD, 3D Graphics and Animation

All Arsenal projects include the development of 3D
graphics. However, the different applications impose
different philosophies on the creation of 3D models.
For Virtual Reality applications, where it is required that
the rendering (computational process that produces
images starting from a geometric description) occurs in
real time, care must be taken in order to keep the
complexity of the created geometry low. This technique
requires a deep knowledge of the 3D rendering rules and
the standards on which it is based (OpenGL), the GPU
(Graphics Processing Unit) internals, and of course a real
experience acquired over the years.
The situation when a Video, to distribute on CD-ROM or
DVD, is to be produced is different. A video, since it is
not interactive, has just to display images generated
previously through a rendering process that can take all
the time needed, usually many hours or days and on
many computers connected with each other. The
advantage of the video is therefore the absence of limits
in the geometry complexity, with a consequent better
image quality than the Virtual Reality’s, quality that can
reach the hyper-realism. On the contrary, the video does
not allow all the flexibility of Virtual Reality systems.


Despite the two different applications described, the tools
used for the creation of 3D models are the same.
Rhinoceros3D, a CAD software particularly suitable for
realizing models with complex surfaces, represents the first
step. This CAD is indicated for architecture, marine design
and mechanics projects. It is also able to provide instructions
directly to the machines for the numerical control
manufacturing (i.e. milling machines) and to the machines
used in stereolithography, the technology for the creation of
extremely accurate solid prototypes obtained by building up
thin layers of resins.
Rhinoceros3D is a real CAD for the designing. For the 3D
modelling of organic forms we use Lightwave3D Modeler, a
software that also allows to give the surfaces the desired
aesthetic characteristics. Modeler is particularly suitable for
archaeology and character animation.
One of the techniques we employ as support to object
measurement and 3D modelling is photogrammetry. Starting
from pictures, a solid model of an object is obtained through
a software based on trigonometry. For the photogrammetry,
Arsenal employs RealVizImageModeler.
Lightwave3D Layout is the best software to realize scenes
and animations for a video, with the addition of different
kinds of lights, shadows and reflections, movement of
objects and cameras. It was developed expressly for special
effects, so it is a powerful tool for creativity and animation.

Stereoscopic Visualization

The stereoscopic visualization is one of the main
characteristics of Virtual Reality. The vision acquires the
sense of depth with the employment of goggles, sort of
glasses with polarized lenses, that can be either passive or
active. The stereoscopic system provides the right eye as
well as the left one with their respective perspectives. The
stereoscopic visualization obviously requires a specialized
hardware. To achieve acceptable performances with the
stereoscopic projection the hardware costs are really high,
some tens of thousands euros.
The stereoscopic projection can be applied to Virtual Reality
applications as well as to videos. As for the Virtual Reality,
the real-time rendering doubles the amount of resources
requested to the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), that has so
to be of a special type and very powerful.
Arsenal can realize stereoscopic videos with Lightwave3D
Layout. Stereoscopic Virtual Reality applications are
developed in OpenSceneGraph.



3
Developed Systems


VirtualCamera (V-CAM)

V-CAM is a system developed on an Arsenal initiative
and is provided as a service, mainly for sailing sports
events that need visibility on TV or widescreens.
The yachts involved in the race are reproduced as 3D
models placed in a virtual scene with the landscape on the
background and additional synthetic data that provide the
spectator the objective information of the race situation in
real time.
The system is composed of a device (BlueBox), installed



V-CAM can broadcast always the most significant and
enchanting shot, as a bird’s-eye view describing the
situation of the whole sailing course or a close view of
two yachts engaged while rounding the mark,
notalways possible with the more expensive filming
from the helicopter. Moreover, distance between yachts
and marks, speed, wind direction and other data
processed and displayed on the screen, represent the
value added to the simple visualization.


on board of each yacht, and of a
processing console
that provides the
video signal to the TV channel or
to the widescreen.
The BlueBox, whose aim is to detect
and transmit the yachts’ position and
the heading and roll angles, includes a
high-precision GPS (Global
Positioning System) receiver, an
electronic compass and inclinometer, a
GPRS transmitter, and a CPU; the
BlueBoxes are realized on Arsenal
request.
The V-CAM Console, which has to
receive the data transmitted by the
BlueBoxes and generate the graphics
filmed by the virtual video cameras, is
composed of a cluster for data
processing and real-time rendering, of
a final stage generating a PAL video
signal and of a control and monitoring
console; the V-CAM Console was
developed by Arsenal.




4

Developed Systems

Immersive Control System (X-CAM)


X-CAM is a remote control station
suitable for the monitoring of means of
transportation and vehicles in motion that
have sensing and data transmission
devices installed on board. The operator
has control of the vehicles that move in the
virtual scene in sync with the real ones and
are displayed in 3D graphics with a series
of graphical and numerical data such as
vehicles’ position, load, delay and air
pollution.
X-CAM was conceived by Arsenal, that
also developed its software and sized and
integrated its hardware.
Arsenal supplies also the realization of the
graphic database for each specific
application.


The system is composed of a data processing
and real-time rendering station and of an
immersive visualization console.
The visualization takes place on a surrounding
panoramic screen, composed of three rear-
projected panels next to each other which form
a single two-meter wide display without
discontinuity. The operator moves in the scene
using a SpaceBall (a special mouse with six
degrees of freedom).
The software is planned to receive, through the
Internet or wireless networks, external data such
as position (GPS).
The environment 3D models are obtained from
the public numerical cartography, that allows to
create an accurate 3D model of the city.





X-CAM was adopted for example by the t&t
telematica e trasporti for the Urbis system,
meant for the modern management of the
public transportation of the city. The SBXs,
devices installed on the bus (produced by
t&t), transmit data such as position (GPS),
concentration of polluting gases, acoustic
noise and the number of passengers on
board. Thanks to the X-CAM console the
operator, in addition to the 3D visualization
of the city and of the buses in motion, can
access a set of tables that provides him a
global and direct overall view of the traffic
situation, in an effective and simple way.
Arsenal personalized the X-CAM software
on the basis of t&t requirements.



5

Developed Systems

Panoramic and Stereoscopic Visualization


Expo 2008
The city of Trieste is candidate to
hosting the international
exhibition Expo 2008; one of the
most important factors judged by
the BIE (Bureau International des
Expositions) committee of inquiry
is the urban and infrastructure
layout of the region, that has to
grant an effective access and
hospitality for millions of people
coming from every part of the
world.
For the BIE examination session
of June 23, 2004 in Paris, Arsenal

prepared a virtual reality software that was presented on a
5x1.8-meters panoramic screen with two projectors having
a power of light of 10,000 ANSI Lumen each. The Virtual
Reality of this application reproduces the Region of Friuli-
Venezia Giulia and the bordering regions of Slovenia and
Croatia in 3D graphics; a large area of the Region is
covered by orthorectified pictures.
As all Arsenal projects, this one too allows the free
movement in the scene in real time and is equipped with
interactive functions for the representation of data

regarding the general logistics of the Exhibition.
The buildings and port infrastructures of the city of
Trieste are all in 3D and part of the historical buildings,
situated by the sea and in the city centre are reproduced
with photorealistic quality.
The BIE commission had the opportunity to enter the
access gates of the region, examine the intermodal
exchange junctions of the transport routes, verify the
traffic flow data and judge the environmental impact of
the projected urban and architectural solutions.


The Basic Design Department
employed the virtual reality to
check some stages of the design
and to explain the innovative
ideas of the company better.
Arsenal, starting from 2D files
provided by Fincantieri,
realized the 3D model with
Rhinoceros, then it took care of
the aesthetic aspect with
Lightwave3D and then
imported it in OpenSceneGraph
for the stereoscopic
visualization through active
polarized goggles by
Stereographics.
Through different visualization
sessions, in which those
responsible for the planning
were present, many changes
have been made because of
relevant facts
Fincantieri
The Fincantieri S.p.a., the famous Italian marine industry,
is designing an holiday cruiser with innovative solutions
especially with respect to the interior architecture.


emerged while navigating in real time in the model
through the free selection of points of view.Once the
project was strengthen, a DVD video to be included in
proposals to shipowners was realized with the walk-
through inside the cruiser.


6
The VirtualLab Project


VirtualLab is a project born of an Arsenal idea and
developed thanks to the encouragement and contribution
of some qualified university teachers and Culture
operators. VirtualLab, whose first stage will end by 2005
and that will end by 2006, will have two distinct
functions:
The Virtual Theatre
The Research and Development Laboratory

The Virtual Theatre
Placed in a room that can host up to thirty people, with a
surrounding stereoscopic screen and spatialized audio,
the virtual theatre offers mainly thematic programmes on
the urban history of Trieste; a free space-time journey
through the region, the architecture and the traditions,
reconstructed on the basis of archaeological and
historical researches. The technology employed allows to
adjust the programme to the type of audience, such as
classes, tourists, students.
Usually the journey is led and commented by an expert
guide but it can also be recorded and so played back
automatically.
The audience is taken for a virtual flight over the region,
sees the evolution of the natural environment, the
coastline and its access routes; it flies over the city and
goes inside it, considers its urban transformation, enters
the monuments, meets the inhabitants with the costumes
and the dialect of the time.
The programme, which is also a show, enriches the
contents developed on historical and scientific basis with
an accurate set and animation.
The theatre will also host presentations of urban and
architectural, environmental and transportation projects;
this interactive visual instrument grants, in fact, the
maximum productivity and efficiency at evaluation and
analysis meetings.

The Research and Development
Laboratory
Placed by the Virtual Theatre, since it refers to the same
technological support, the Laboratory will organize the
experiments and projects ordered by the different
scientific, industrial, and public customers. The high
qualification of the staff and of the technologies installed,
and the ability to relate with a variety of professionals,
make the Laboratory a unique and attracting source for
large and interesting targets.
The Laboratory includes a production division that,
among other activities, takes also care of the creation of
the virtual theatre contents.





























The technological equipment includes the devices for 3D
scanning, motion tracking, manipulation of virtual
elements (data-gloves), and interactive stereoscopic
visualization.

How does the Laboratory work?
The problem is not the technology but the interface with
the different users and specialist disciplines that in most
cases are beyond the Laboratory knowledge.
It is clear that a cultural feeling between the customer and
the Laboratory is to be created, as it is for a computer
analyst who prepares to organize the administrative
procedures of a company. Every single project has
therefore a person responsible for it that keeps technical
relations with the client and shares the needed resources
of the different peculiarities of the Laboratory. The
Laboratory functions on the basis of a matrix
organization.


Virtual
Heritage

Recently the virtual reconstruction of
archaeological sites, typically done on scientific
basis and meant for not only a specialized use but
also for educational and entertainment purposes,
has seen many initiatives in Europe, in the Middle-
East and also in the US where, if on one hand
there are rare relevant historical situations, on the
other
hand there is most of the research in this
discipline. Most of those installations, that are often
integrated in museums with other different means
of exposition, included the classic ones, are
crowned with success and rewarded with the great
interest tha
t the younger generations manifest.
Among the best projects, a special mention goes
to the city of Ename (Belgium), the Archaeological
Park & Davidson Center in Jerusalem. In Italy, it is
worth to mention the immersive installation by the
CINECA of Bologna
, with the reconstruction of the
medieval town and the Multimedia Room in the
Scrovegni chapel in Padua.


A Competence Centre for
Citizens, the Academic,
Culture and Industry world

7




Application Fields of the VirtualLab Laboratory

Archaeology
Conservative Reconstructions
Simulation and Analysis
Training

Architecture & Urban Planning
Simulation and Analysis
Environmental Impact
Training

Museum & Cultural Park
Augmented Reality
Virtual Exposition

Theatre
Simulation of the Set
Operative Set

Psychology
Studies about Perception
Therapies for Psychological Disorders
Industry
Installation Maintenance Training
Product Presentation
Reverse Engineering

Medicine
Training

Sport
Virtual TV Report

Television
Virtual Set

Transportation
Remote Control
Environmental Impact
Drive Simulator

Law
Incident/Accident Reconstruction
Crime Simulation



8

Arsenal - profile

Arsenal has been operating since 1998. Its founder, Engineer
Piero Miceu, has a twenty-year experience in the aerospace
industry where the Simulation is used by the Air Force.
At the end of the ‘90s the Simulation technology, or Virtual
Reality, begins to be affordable also for users that are not
inclined to invest extremely large amounts of money on
military applications. The stabilization of this trend
encouraged us in the decision of investing in the “civilian”
market.
So the founder gathers a group of enthusiastic specialists
that share the same goal: the development of Virtual Reality
projects with a clearly technical orientation, but without
disdaining multimedia projects.

The Arsenal strategy has been, and still is, to finance the
research and the development of its Virtual Reality tools
with more popular activities based on computer graphics, as
multimedia and web. This path, even though difficult but
pursued tenaciously, enabled the company to realize a series
of Virtual Reality projects that now allow to clearly
distinguish the Arsenal profile, that is its technological and
scientific character, outdistancing it from a large group of
firms that offer their products generically on the market of
computer graphics and multimedia.

The realization of a development platform and other
software tools, that now allow the complete control of the
technologies involved, was essential in this process.
The constant up-to-date knowledge of the graphics
processors’ technology, indispensable to always obtain the
best performance in the real-time rendering, critical aspect
of the Virtual Reality, is as much important. Another
ability that Arsenal acquired is that of programming with
the highest attention to the human perception factors: in
fact, the real-time rendering, that uses hardware resources
intensively, imposes economy on the complexity of
graphic contents and therefore stimulates the research of
simplified and efficient solutions.

Arsenal integrates its know-how with the cooperation of
the local University for the Psychology of Perception, a
very relevant factor for every aspect of the HCI (Human-
Computer Interface) and the Usability involved in the
Virtual Reality.
The Arsenal activities are carried out according to the
rules of Quality Systems applicable to its process and with
the Project Management tools for the planning and control;
both disciplines were experienced in the industrial past of
the founders.

Arsenal s.r.l. - Virtual Reality Systems
Via Felice Venezian, 1 - 34124 - Trieste
tel. +39 040 3220314 fax +39 040 3224071
www.arsenal.it
e-mail:
technical direction: miceu@arsenal.it
information: info@arsenal.it
02/05