Author: Will Tann
2018: The Year of Engineering
Bechtel are proud supporters of the STEM initiative, encouraging the next generation to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Last week, the Bechtel Innovate Team and the Gatwick Airport Pier 6 Project Team joined forces to attend the annual Big Bang Fair South East, a yearly, interactive engineering and science event. A team of enthusiastic graduates and interns hosted the Bechtel stand and were keen to share their passion for engineering with the younger generation. This year, the two-day STEM event welcomed a record number of students; over 10,000 primary and secondary school pupils and their teachers were in attendance.
The Virtual World
The virtual world was the hot topic of the fair. Students delved into the virtual world, interacting with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technology. They were taken on an adventure starting in the real world, then dove into the virtual world before finally blurring the lines between the two and merging real-life with simulation.
It all started with the real world. At the Bechtel stand, students scanned a LEGO airplane set with a 3D iPad scanner, creating the scene in the virtual space and manipulating it at their will. Equipped with Realwear’s HMT-1 headset and Intoware’s Workflo+ app, students progressed through voice-guided workflows completely hands-free, performing inspections of the real world.
They were then taken on a immersive virtual tour, which landed them in New York City or within a 3D model of a towering skyscraper, all powered from an iPhone.
Finally, the real world became a playground for the virtual. Students were given a HoloLens headset and placed a 3D model in the real world, pinning it to floors and tables, manipulating its size and rotation, and then looking around the model. Students could look at the small-scale construction site from angles: left, right, over, and under. Finally, the model was brought into a 1:1 scale, with students physically walking around the virtual space. One model had a crane which towered over the marquee, causing students to step back in awe.
The young guns of Bechtel did a fantastic job of inspiring the next generation, opening their eyes to the wonders and opportunities that lie hidden in the world of engineering, hopefully laying the foundations for future careers in STEM.