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Improving virtual reality applications in CAD through semantics

: Toro, Carlos; Posada, Jorge; Wundrak, Stefan; Stork, André

International Journal of Virtual Reality 5 (2006), No.4, pp.39-46
ISSN: 1081-1451
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IGD ()
CAD/CAM; semantics; virtual reality (VR); ontology; engineering; standard; plant design; web ontology language (OWL)

In this article we propose an architecture for the inclusion and exploitation of semantic aspects in a CAD environment. Our schema focuses on the enhancement and improvement of a commercial (general purpose) CAD system on its Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities. There is a need in combining CAD and semantics in the new generation of computer assisted engineering systems.
Usually semantic aspects in traditional CAD applications relay on user tacit knowledge, a fact that slows the learning curve while the user is getting trained with a new tool, no matter if he is an expert in others. Moreover, current CAD programs offer a myriad of options to the designer, but their limited integration of the non geometric information (e.g. PDM systems), and in general the semantics of the design process, can still be improved for the current needs of the industry. We argue that the use of semantics could improve the workflow and capabilities of the software and would benefit a new (non experienced user) in order to produce better results in shorter times.
In this paper our main focus is the enhancement of the visualization and VR capabilities in generic CAD applications. Our semantic CAD framework uses ontology modelling as well as engineering standards in order to conceptualize and exploit the information contained in a CAD model. To show some benefits of our proposed schema, we present two cases in different engineering domains (plant design and Steel detailing design), where the inclusion of semantics empowers a VR experience.