Interactive 3D models as operating tools for complex constructions and systems
How do users of complex technology and products in the stage and event sector benefit from augmented reality? In addition to possible time savings when setting up complex machinery, the main focus here is on increasing safety through a greater understanding of the correct operation. As a basis for a practical examination of the requirements of such an installation aid and for discussion with the various stakeholders and dialogue partners, a first functional prototype for the AR-supported setup of a curtain rail was developed in close cooperation with the company Gerriets.
- How can XR technologies be used to improve and
facilitate the daily work of event technicians?
- What tools are needed to increase safety on stage?
Based on the question of how work safety in the stage area can be increased through the use of augmented reality, we first outlined basic application scenarios of AR technology in the context of event technology. Thus, in workshops with industry partners of the DTHG, ideas emerged for the use of augmented reality in the remote maintenance of control technology, as support through hazard recognition in safety-relevant work and as a construction aid in the assembly and dismantling of complex technical stage decorations.
Due to the technical feasibility, we have dedicated ourselves to a more in-depth investigation of an augmented construction aid. Highly complex equipment is used in the event sector and on theatre stages. The technologies and products used are so diverse that their operation cannot be taught comprehensively in training. In addition, assembly and operating instructions available as paper documents are often too unspecific and – especially in the working environment on stage – impractical to handle. This is where digital instructions can support the work of stage technicians and create a decisive added value through the increased readability of digital 3D models.
We have chosen the TRUMPF 95 curtain rail from Gerriets as an exemplary product. The system is used worldwide and several dozen kilometres of this type of rail are sold and installed every year. Before we devoted ourselves to developing the digital instructions, we first took a close look at the analogue product. Under the guidance of Andreas Gause (Head of Marketing & Key Account Management at Gerriets), we assembled and disassembled a rail several times and created an overview of all the operating steps that a construction aid requires. Decisive for the successful assembly of a curtain rail is the sequence in which the elements are assembled. In addition, it was possible to understand in the analogue which individual module types the module set „curtain rail“ consists of. Since augmenting analogue objects with digital content requires an understanding of the analogue material, this practical workshop was an essential step in the project process.
The result was a first functional prototype for the AR-supported construction of a curtain rail: the instructions in the form of an interactive website guide the user through the construction in ten simple steps after an overview of all the parts and tools used. A short accompanying text (theoretically also possible in several languages) describes the processes, points out possible pitfalls and reveals tips and tricks. The individual construction steps are shown as three-dimensional animations and can be called up by the users one after the other. The viewing angle and zoom factor can be determined by the user.
The implementation as a website makes it possible to change or improve the instructions afterwards and then quickly pass them on to the users – without having to update the application on the end devices. By using the relatively new WebXR interface, the website and assembly instructions can be displayed on a variety of different devices. On the one hand, the technology makes it possible to display 3D objects on conventional screens (for example, on a computer or tablet), and on the other hand – through the use of augmented reality glasses or the AR function of a smartphone or tablet – to „project“ them immersively into one‘s own environment.
Project team digital.DTHG
Project lead: Franziska Ritter, Pablo Dornhege
Development: Lea Schorling, Sascha Sigl
3D-Modelling/Scans: Sascha Sigl, Pablo Dornhege
Design and Interface: Maria Bürger
Partners and experts
Andreas Gause, Gerriets GmbH
Olaf Grambow and his team of Deutsche Theater Berlin
Arved Hammerstädt, cast C.ADOLPH &
RST DISTRIBUTION GmbH
Vincent Kaufmann, digital.DTHG
News about the project
The research project “Im/material Theatre Spaces – Augmented and Virtual Reality for Theatre” has been successfully completed after 2.5 years. This publication summarises the findings of the project and provides insights into the interdisciplinary, practice-oriented research work. Download publication (pdf 8 MB)
After two intensive research years, the project leaders Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege take a look behind the scenes, draw a summary and glimpse into the future. In doing so, they are asking themselves the same questions that they have posed to their partners in the current project.
Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege, both digital.DTHG project leads, sat down with Andreas Gause, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Gerriets, to talk about digital transformation in the field of theatre.
In June 2022, the 61st stage technology conference of the DTHG took place in Ulm: with an extensive program of presentations, panel discussions, round tables and lectures, the theatre landscape was finally able to celebrate its industry meeting live again. 71 companies and more than 1,100 guests were on site, got to know each other …
Interactive user manuals of complex constructions and systems Highly complex equipment is used in the event sector and on theater stages. The technologies and products used are so diverse that their operation cannot be taught comprehensively in training. In addition, assembly and operating instructions available as paper documents are often too unspecific and – especially …
The solutions we developed as part of the research project “Im/material Theatre Spaces” (2019-2022) serve as sustainably transferable concepts due to their prototypical model character. The gained insights and developed model solutions were published on various channels and are made available to the entire cultural landscape for free and flexible use. Licenses For this purpose, …
WebXR – what is that actually and how does it work? We use this technology for several of our digital.DTHG prototypes – here we explain what it is.
We present the prototypical sample solution for the TRUMPF 95 assembly instructions in detail.
In a field test, we tested a WebXR prototype for setting up the Gerriets TRUMPF 95 curtain track with the technical team of the Deutsches Theater Berlin at the end of April 2021.
The project “Augmented Reality in Event Technology” was presented online by the two project managers Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege at BTT_digital from the digital.DTHG lab.
At the BTT – the Stage Technology Conference, the most important trade fair and further training event for the theatre and event technology sector of the Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft (DTHG), we will be giving on 28. & 29. October digital a first insight into our projects.
The project “Augmented Reality in Event Technology” aims at facilitating recurring work processes such as the construction and dismantling of stage sets or the maintenance and administration of theatre technology using AR applications.
In theatre and event technology there are often two souls living in the chest of the technician: on the one hand, he or she appreciates reliable tools & technologies that have been tried and tested for years, but on the other hand, there is always curiosity about the new and unknown.
An interdisciplinary kick-off workshop entitled “IM/MATERIAL THEATRE SPACES” took place in spring 2019 at the TU Berlin under the direction of Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege.
The aim of this joint project with nine European university partners is to promote awareness and understanding of a European history of theatre technology. The project contributes to the current discourse on the preservation of the cultural heritage of transnational and international theatre technology and engineering.
This sub-project is dedicated to the challenge of making theatre heritage visible and finding new virtual forms of mediation that do justice to »theatre« as an immaterial art form in its entirety.