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AR amplifies the insights and impact of CFD

LEAP Australia stand at Austech/NMW 2017 demonstrating CFD simulation results with augmented reality

At 2017 National Manufacturing Week/Austech, the LEAP team showcased the use of exciting new technology: CFD simulation results viewed in augmented reality (AR), overlayed on the Monash Motorsports (MMS) 2016 racecar.  Watch the video below for a quick overview:

What is AR and why is it useful in industry?

As opposed to Virtual Reality (VR - in which your entire field of view is virtual with little context to the real world), Augmented Reality (AR) allows you to overlay selected digital information on real-life geometry (such as CAD concept geometry, IoT sensor data and simulation results from CFD or FEA): with obvious applications in industry for sales/marketing, operations/servicing and R&D collaboration. With recent developments, PTC Vuforia AR technology now allows any engineer or designer to easily publish an augmented reality experience from their desktop, almost as easily as publishing a drawing from CAD. On our stand at NMW/Austech, LEAP provided access to these AR experiences using consumer-level tablets (both Android and iOS), but very shortly full "out of the box" support will be provided for AR Goggles (such as Microsoft Hololens) – including interaction using hand gestures - after which we anticipate interest from industry to skyrocket!

LEAP Australia stand at Austech/NMW 2017 demonstrating CFD simulation results with augmented reality

When dealing with CFD results, as can be shown in the image above, it is often said that a picture tells a thousand words (and, if so, then an animation amplifies that by another order of magnitude!). Imagine then the additional insights that can be gained if you are visualising your most meaningful and impactful CFD results augmented within a real-world scene. Over a range of pilot projects, we have found that using AR to present CFD results is especially effective when trying to communicate insights from simulations to a non-technical audience: imagine yourself as a HVAC consultant creating a walk-through of a building to a client, attempting to explain the reasoning behind modifications to a HVAC system; or as a process engineer tasked with troubleshooting poor mixing performance on existing plant equipment, who needs to convince their production manager (who has a business background) on why their CFD results confirm that they can confidently spend $100k to fix their mixing problem. In both cases, as an engineer you simply want the most effective way to help your client/colleague 1) understand the existing issues and 2) fully comprehend the effectiveness of your proposed design change.

Dr. Marco Losurdo, Ferchau Engineering GmbH, has many years of CFD and AR experience, and has recently worked on a number of AR projects incorporating animated CFD results (many of which you can view on his youtube channel).  He observes that "the main benefit of incorporating your CFD simulation results into an AR experience is to bring back the emotional part of engineering, which is often not captured adequately on the screen in a simple JPEG or animation. In this fashion, a well composed AR experience will elevate your level of engineering intuition for a given design and allows you to truly understand the flow field and the impact of any proposed design changes.  Furthermore, AR provides a very compelling experience for non-technical colleagues to whom CFD remains somewhat of a black-art".

The AR experience shown above includes augmented pressure contours on the front and rear wings of the MMS racecar, as well as a visualisation of the animated flow streamlines being released just forward of the front wing. Students from MMS are already looking to use these AR CFD results to collaborate more effectively in a multi-disciplinary team environment, where not everyone is a CFD expert (sound familiar?) and hopefully achieve their ultimate goals of maximising downforce on the front/rear wings and optimising the aerodynamic performance of their racecar.

Please contact us via www.leapaust.com.au for more information or a more detailed discussion of what is possible with PTC AR and ANSYS simulation results. Special thanks to Dr Marco Losurdo, Ferchau Engineering GmbH, for his assistance in creating this AR experience – for more information on his expertise, check out https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcolsurdo/ and https://www.youtube.com/user/marcolosurdo.


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