Virtual Reality (VR) has all kinds of applications—and although it’s currently most popular as a gaming tool, it could be quite useful for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) as well.

Practical use of VR in AEC is currently the subject of extensive research, but it could become much more accessible following a recent partnership between architecture firm NBBJ and VR developer Visual Vocal.

The goal of this joint effort? To develop a visualization tool using mobile and cloud-based platforms that will allow designers and architects to show off their creations.

Bringing VR to AEC and BIMThe VR platform from Visual Vocal will use a device similar to Google Cardboard to display models in VR before they're ever built. (Image courtesy of NBBJ.)

The platform works on a familiar principle. It’s designed to function using cloud collaboration, which will be lightweight enough to display 3D models such as building information modeling (BIM) projects on mobile platforms like smartphones and tablets. It will then use a device reminiscent of Google Cardboard to display the model in VR.

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