VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY TO REPRESENT CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES
The use of virtual reality techniques in the development of educational applications brings new perspectives to the teaching of subjects related to the field of civil construction in Civil Engineering domain. In order to obtain models, which would be able to visually simulate the construction process of two types of construction work, the research turned to the techniques of geometric modelling and virtual reality. The applications developed for this purpose are concerned with the construction of a cavity wall and a bridge. These models make it possible to view the physical evolution of the work, to follow the planned construction sequence and to visualize details of the form of every component of the works. They also support the study of the type and method of operation of the equipment necessary for these construction procedures. These models have been used to distinct advantage as educational aids in first-degree courses in Civil Engineering. Normally, three-dimensional geometric models, which are used to present architectural and engineering works, show only their final form, not allowing the observation of their physical evolution. The visual simulation of the construction process needs to be able to produce changes to the geometry of the project dynamically. In the present study, two engineering construction work models were created, from which it was possible to obtain three-dimensional models corresponding to different states of their form, simulating distinct stages in their construction. Virtual reality technology was applied to the 3D models. Virtual reality capacities allow the interactive real-time viewing of 3D building models and facilitate the process of visualizing, evaluating and communicating.