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The product

UWE’s space is a 5 x 3.5-metre open-fronted CAVE with rear and floor projection, which can fit up to six people standing inside.

The display is powered by four Digital Projection E-Vision projectors, capable of 4K resolution and 3D projection. It also incorporates an Optitrack system which tracks head and VR controller movement. 

UWE recently upgraded to Igloo Core Engine (ICE), Igloo’s operating system for immersive rooms, which is optimised to display industry standard BIM and CAD tools, game engine-based content, as well as web-based data, Google Street View and Google Earth.

All this is powered by an IMPIII (Igloo Immersive Media Player), our most powerful media server designed to run any GPU-hungry realtime content.

The result

Igloo returned to UWE in early 2023 to find that staff and students were using the CAVE in sophisticated ways to visualise different types of data across a range of subjects:

  • Civil Engineering students use the CAVE to review digital models built in Autodesk 
  • Building Surveying students are using the CAVE to visualise LiDAR data, carry out digital surveys and adjust buildings in real time
  • The CAVE is also used as a tool in History and Architectural History to view LiDAR scans of historical sites imported into Revit, Unity or Unreal Engine and reconstructed to represent their original form
  • Working with the Heritage in the Crossfire research project, the CAVE has been used to visualise photogrammetry models of historic buildings impacted by recent conflict in Libya
  • The CAVE is also used for outreach and the Digital Engineering Gallery team has been running continual professional development (CPD) courses for local organisations, including the Ministry of Defence, NHS, GKN Aerospace, Airbus and Rolls Royce, as well as local schools and colleges.

Going forward

As staff and students become more familiar with the Digital Engineering Gallery, UWE Bristol are looking to rollout the use of the CAVE across engineering disciplines, ensuring that aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, design, games technology and robotics students all maximise the potential of the space.

They also have some exciting research ideas in the pipeline, including:

  • Using the CAVE as a controlled stimulus environment for the treatment of post-traumatic stress
  • Working with Gloucester Council to use the CAVE for pedestrian crossing simulation to improve road safety in the South West

“Viewing 3D objects in a VR headset is good, but there's nothing like a bit of collaboration. Working collaboratively is fantastic. And this is the first time we've been able to view 3D models collaboratively.” 

Andy Hill, Senior Technical Instructor, UWE

“The students coming through now are getting a lot more hands-on experience, because we're working in partnership with local industries within engineering, civil engineering and aerospace, and I think their experience in here with digital tools will make them more employable in the future.”  

Justin Robbins, Immersive Technologies Instructor, UWE

“Every time we take students in there, they are always amazed... they’ve never experienced being in a CAVE before and they love it.”

Oliver Davey, Building Science Instructor, UWE