Using Augmented Reality to teach Civil Engineering

QR Code for civil engineering
Scan this to download the model

Translating the complex geometry and arrangement of civil engineering structures in to 2D images on slides or handouts can be challenging. And trying to figure them out during a lecture can be even more challenging.

To aid the communication of complex geometry and the spatial arrangement of civil engineering systems, Nick Simpson, part of the civil and environmental engineering cluster at UWE, has developed Augmented Reality (AR) models for use in the classroom.

The platform Nick uses is ‘Augment‘, an Augmented Reality software solution with apps available on Android and iOS smartphones. Using a smartphone app and camera, 3D models are superimposed on a ‘tracker’, a piece of paper with a special pattern on it. When viewing the tracker through the smartphone screen students can explore a virtual model in real space, and they can move the smartphone and rotate the tracker to get a better view.

The 3D model used can come from a variety of sources. The workflow used by Nick Simpson to generate these models starts with development of a model in Trimble Sketchup. The model is then exported to Augment via a SketchUp plugin.

Try it yourself. The QR code on this page is for a beam to column bolted steel connection:

  1. Print the ‘tracker’ found here
  2. Install the Augment app on your smartphone
  3. Using the Augment app, scan the QR code seen on this page to download Nick’s 3D model
  4. Then ‘project’ the model onto the tracker and move your smartphone and tracker to see the model from different angles.