How Daktronics Is Pushing the Boundaries of What’s Possible in CAD with AR

Written By: Justin Ochsner
  • 8/10/2021
  • Read Time : 3 min

A video display hanging from the roof of a venue is a significant investment for property owners and teams. It has become helpful -- and even expected -- for purchasers to see a visualization or rendering of a video display – whether it be a center hung system, wall-mounted display, digital billboard, or halo built into the roof structure.

Typically, Daktronics builds a prototype of a new design for reviews – renderings and virtual flythroughs can show multiple angles for venue owners to get a sense of how the technology would look in their space. The Daktronics design team utilizes the dimensions and data of the space, making the renderings as accurate as possible. Next, the information is put into Creo Parametric and confirmed with the architect to ensure Daktronics delivers the correct display size – this provides the basis for detailed design work to begin on the video system.

Once the model has been created, it’s typically displayed onto a traditional two-dimensional drawing – listing out the specified design dimensions and showing some rotated views gives a feel for the completed display. But, with the COVID-19 outbreak and related protocols in place, it’s difficult to have all decision makers congregate to participate in a physical design review.

For this reason – and because two-dimensional drawings can be limited in their ability to help visualize the final product – Daktronics has started to push the boundaries of what’s possible in CAD with augmented reality. Using Vuforia View, teams can be sent a link of the new design or product, allowing them to experience the design with a mobile device in an AR experience to virtually walk around the display in its true physical size.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

Daktronics recently worked to secure a project with a large basketball facility. The team owner was looking for a realistic visual of what the new display would look like above an audience. The Daktronics team reached out to Randy Soukup, Daktronics’ Engineering Systems Analyst, who focuses on new and emerging CAD technologies.

“Our lead Mechanical Design Engineer for this project reached out, explained what this owner was looking for and asked if there was something that we could do that would provide some level of ‘WOW’ factor,” Soukup explained. “I had been testing Vuforia Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities for our company for a couple years, exploring different use cases, and recently even more so with COVID protocols in place and our engineers working from home. Fortunately, in this case the designer had a Creo model far enough along that I felt I had a solution we could try.

“Using capabilities built into Creo Parametric, I opened the model and placed a spatial target below the display that would simulate its approximate height above center court,” Soukup continued. “I then exported that model to a Vuforia experience with only a couple of clicks and emailed a link to myself. To confirm this would work, I went out to my front yard and clicked on the link from my email which opened the experience on the Vuforia View app on my phone. I placed the spatial target on my driveway, backed away and, amazingly, I was able to walk up and down the street and see the display high above my house, literally able to walk underneath it if I wanted to," Soukup said.

“This test left me confident that we could send this link to our on-site project manager and move forward,” added Soukup. “A few days later, he walked through the actual arena with the owner and provided a virtual experience of his display as though it were already installed, but months before fabrication ever began.”

This is one example of how Daktronics is combining the powerful capabilities of CAD and AR and gaining an edge over the competition. Daktronics has also leveraged the same Creo and Vuforia technology to assist students and non-design employees to understand the scale of the displays being developed. It's easy enough to view a 3D display on a computer screen in Creo or a 3D PDF, but it is often difficult to understand and comprehend the size and scale of these displays. It’s also tough to showcase some of the new features, especially to those that don’t have a technical background.

With these two examples, Daktronics is just scratching the surface of what is possible with this technology and leveraging AR experiences. As the company looks to refine the process and determine future opportunities, Daktronics will continue to learn how to best use and leverage AR in new and exciting ways.

Daktronics Case Study

Read the full story of how PTC technologies are reducing downtime & improving product quality.

  • Digital Transformation
  • Augmented Reality
  • Digital Thread
  • CAD

About the Author

Justin Ochsner

Justin Ochsner works in Daktronics Live Events marketing department as a writer and PR professional. He started in 2007 in their Creative Services marketing department before joining the Live Events team in 2012 where manages news releases, social media and blog posts. He is also a co-host of the Daktronics Experience Podcast and collaborates across markets within the company to capitalize on opportunities to promote Daktronics.