HVRC CREATE is a suite of tools for designing and testing room layouts with version management for tracking design iterations. HVRC CREATE uses interactive 3D technology to enable designers to rapidly prototype and test designs against ergonomic guidelines and recommendations, and further supports an iterative design process with multiple participants, including end-users. Although it is designed for control room engineering, it can also be used for other applications where the layout of an environment is important.
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HVRC CREATE is a suite of virtual prototyping tools developed by IFE for interactively designing and evaluating the layout of workspaces from a human-centered perspective.
It was specifically designed to help integrate human factors into the design process as early as possible and to help manage the complexity of the human factors engineering process for control centres for safety-critical industries. The system design and workflow builds on our experience using virtual reality as a tool for designing and evaluating real control centres since 1996, when we applied VR and virtual prototyping techniques to the modernisation of the Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant control room in Sweden. VR and our CREATE software have been used to design and evaluate mission critical control rooms and control centres for many companies around the world in the energy, transport and process industries, including EDF, Equinor, European Spallation Source, AREVA/Framatome, Shell, Statoil, Aker Solutions, Statnett, Avinor, BaneNOR, LKAB, Borregård, and many more…
Key features of CREATE include:
- Supports an iterative design process with multiple participants and stakeholder participation
- Provides a version management facility for tracking and documenting design iterations
- Uses interactive 3D technology to enable designers to rapidly prototype and test designs with reference to human factors guidelines and recommendations
- Provides automated reviewing assistance for layout-oriented NUREG 0700 human factors review guidelines, greatly reducing the time needed to conduct a formal design review
- Supports using immersive virtual reality technologies for walkthroughs of layout designs
- Supported by human factors consulting, modelling, training, and control room design services
HVRC CREATE comprises of a set of administrative tools that are used to set up the HVRC CREATE server environment (users, model database, guideline set database) and a set of project tools that are used to manage projects. Project managers define project constraints using the Project Management Tool, designers build control room layouts using the Layout Tool, and reviewers formally test layouts using the Verification Tool.
The HVRC CREATE system architecture enables designers to access reports written by reviewers and reviewers to access design notes. A built-in messaging system supports communication between project managers, designers and reviewers. All project data is safely stored on a central server and can be used to document the history of a project.
Project Management Tool
A Project Management Tool enables project managers to organise the project team, configure design and review guideline sets, and control which 3D objects, manikins, and virtual rooms, are available to project members.
The Layout Tool is used by designers to construct control room layouts. The designer interactively drags and drops objects from the Model Bank into a virtual control room and can walk through the control room prototype as it is being assembled.
The Layout Tool provides version control facilities and allows the designer to store notes about design decisions. Manikins and measurement tools are available in the Layout Tool for ad-hoc evaluation.
Layouts can be exported from the Layout Tool for import into other 3D tools.
The Verification Tool is used by reviewers to test control room prototypes assembled using the Layout Tool after a designer has “published” the layout for review. Layouts are tested against review guidelines, using virtual humans and interactive 3D measurement tools. Reviewer comments with illustrative snapshots can be entered and a variety of reports can be generated. If the layout has been tagged with sufficient meta-data in the Layout Tool then some evaluations can be automated so that the Verification Tool can provide decision-support for layout compliance with review guidelines.
Model Bank Tool
The Model Bank Tool is used to manage a hierarchical database of 3D objects that can be used to assemble control room layouts. Objects such as chairs, tables, and computer equipment, can be arranged in categories. Models of rooms and manikins are also stored in the Model Bank. In addition to the models themselves, the Model Bank contains additional information about the objects in it, such as name, manufacturer, and price, and provides a version control facility. The Model Bank facilitates reuse of objects across control room design projects.
HVRC CREATE also includes a User Tool for managing access to a server and for assigning administration rights, and a Guideline Tool for installing guideline sets. Note that a “guideline set” can represent a set of requirements and not necessarily a set of human factors guidelines. An immersive VR viewer is also available for rapidly visualisation layouts using head-mounted displays.