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.
HVRC CREATE is a suite of virtual prototyping tools for interactively designing and evaluating the layout of workspaces from a human-centered perspective.
It was specifically designed to help integrate human factors competence 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 25 years of experience using virtual reality as a tool for designing and evaluating real control centres. Our software has 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. Clients include EDF, Equinor, European Spallation Source, AREVA/Framatome, OKG, 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 is comprised of a set of administrative tools that are used to configure a 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 evaluate layouts using the Verification Tool.
The system architecture enables designers to access reports written by reviewers, and reviewers to access design notes written by designers. 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
The Project Management Tool enables project managers to organise the project team, and specify which design and review guideline sets should be applied. It is also used to configure which 3D objects, manikins, and pre-modelled rooms or buildings, should be available to project members.
The Layout Tool is used by designers to build room layouts. The designer interactively drags and drops objects from the Model Bank into a virtual control room. The designer can examine the control room prototype as it is being assembled.
Version control facilities are implemented transparently, and functionality is included for the designer to document design decisions. Manikins and measurement tools are available in the Layout Tool for ad-hoc evaluation.
Layouts can be exported in ISO COLLADA or ISO VRML format for use in other 3D tools.
The Verification Tool is used by reviewers to evaluate control room prototypes after a designer has “published” a 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 a recommendation on layout compliance with specific 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 or buildings produced using other tools can be included, and manikins are also stored in the Model Bank. In addition to the models themselves, the Model Bank contains information about the objects in it, such as name and manufacturer. It also includes a version control facility.
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 viewing of layouts using head-mounted displays.