Virtual Reality Research Groups

During my undergraduate work at Iowa State, I served as a research assistant on several projects at the Virtual Reality Application Center (VRAC). My roles included programming, model and texture optimization, testing, and virtual tour guide.

NSF Cooperative Research Project: Beijing

This international cooperative research project proposes an interactive visualization tool for city planners to manage urban growth and for designers to explore planning codes. Constructed in a virtual reality (VR) environment, this tool includes a digital city and a set of planning regulations. Users will be able to navigate through the city, select a property lot, determine planning issues, input data, visualize three-dimensional graphic guidelines, and animate surroundings to see the potential impact caused by the context; or, plug in a building and let the tool evaluate the design to generate graphic suggestions. Perceptions about the city environment can be studied to devise better design guidelines to promote aesthetic and functional urban forms. The purpose of this tool is to make ordinances more transparent. Beijing is selected as the site for (1) studying what regulations affect a city’s historical character, and (2) understanding relationships between culture, form, and codes. Three groups of investigators are participating. The Beijing University of Technology group interpreted the Beijing planning codes, and learned uses of more advantageous information technology from constructing the digital city. The Iowa State University group advanced VR technology in simulation by implementing the tool, and the Beijing Urban Planning Commission provided complete sets of planning codes and maps, tested the validity of the system, and will provide the tool for use in the future.

At this stage, three important areas of the City of Beijing are about completed, including the Temple of Heaven; the modern Central Business District, and a cluster of courtyard houses in a historical residential area. These areas do not contain any military facilities. The project has participants from Tshinghua University, Southeast University, Beijing University of Technology , and the Beijing Urban Planning Commission.

Chan, C. S. (2003a) Applying Concept of Layering to Study an Urban Form. Urban Planning Forum, 148:6, 72-75.
Chan, C. S., Tong, Z., Dang, A., & Qian, J. (2003b) Virtual Reality Modelling of Traditional Chinese Architecture, Proceedings of Virtual Systems and MultiMedia ( VSMM 2003), pp.13-22.
Chan, C. S. & Tong, Z. (2004a) Can History and Arts in Humanities be Appeared Virtually? Proceedings of the 2 th Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, pp 1056-1065.
Chan, C. S. & Xiong, Y. (2004b) The Forces that Shape and Retain the Form of Courtyard Housing in Beijing (Spanish version). Portafolio, in pending.
Chan, C. S., Dang, A., Tong, Z., Qian, J., & Xiong, Y. (2004c) Combining RS, GIS, and VR in Digitizing the Inner City of Beijing, International CAD Conference and Exhibition, in pending.
Chan, C. S., Dang, A., & Tong, Z. (2004d) Urban Spatial Structure Analysis Based on 3D Digital Urban Model, Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (ecaade2004).

AIA Virtual Office Space

I also worked with the American Institute of Architect’s Virtual Office Space, virtual model for evaluating the effect of different office designs on the occupants. In this virtual space, modeled after their Washington DC office, the furniture could be rearranged using a pointer to afford different configurations and textures could be swapped to give elements of the office a different color or material. A series of tests were performed in conjunction with the Department of Psychology to determine which configuration and color gave the most pleasing and productive work environment. My role included programming basic interactive functionality into the model, texture swapping, and developing puzzles for the test subjects to solve.