Centre d’innovació i Tecnologia BARCELONATECH



On 27 and 28 April, the UPC, through the CIT UPC Technology Center, showed its technology capabilities and some of the projects developed in the virtual reality field at the second edition of the Virtual Reality Market BCN 360º, which was held at the Design Museum of Barcelona (DHUB).


Virtual Reality Market BCN 360º is a meeting place that, for the second year, brought together fans of virtual reality and professionals in this sector who, in the real world, continue to create new environments and technologies to go to places that were unimaginable or inaccessible before now. 

Entities, companies, various groups and the public had the opportunity to immerse themselves in virtual reality and find out first-hand about the technology, equipment, services and projects that are being undertaken. This area advances rapidly when augmented reality is combined with the latest innovations in 3D and multimedia; all of which form part of the expertise of the UPC and are applied in all the fields in which the UPC is specialized: architecture, engineering, sciences and technology. 

The technological capabilities of the UPC include, in addition to virtual and augmented reality and immersive interaction, data visualization, crowds and virtual human animation, geometry processing and procedural modelling, real-time rendering, and the creation of augmented reality applications. The University has also carried out high-precision recording of georeferenced virtual objects in the real world, created optical systems for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, and contributed knowledge on the usability of applications and video games and on modelling and animation in 2D and 3D with a high level of realism. 

Part of this expertise and technological capabilities was demonstrated in audiovisual format on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April on the UPC stand, in Passadís Sala A + Sala A of the DHUB (Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, 38, Barcelona).  

Although the development of videogames and apps for entertainment is one of the leading virtual reality sectors, this technology is increasingly common in other fields. Virtual and augmented reality have been applied for some years in sectors such as architecture, urban planning, construction and conservation of cultural heritage and archeological elements. New opportunities and paths are developing constantly, particularly in the reconstruction of spaces or in the refurbishment and restoration of elements or buildings, as well as the management and presentation of documents, inventories or catalogues or in the design of new heritage routes.

In these areas, the Virtual Innovation in Modelling the Architecture and the City Lab (VIMAC), housed in the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB) of the UPC, is a technological leader. VIMAC develops innovative projects using digital systems of geo information, digital mapping, topography, terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) surveys and photogrammetry. Using these techniques, it creates highly complex 3D models and interactive applications. Some examples are the survey of the Palau Reial Major heritage site in the Plaça del Rei, Barcelona, or modelling and 3D printing in high resolution of architectural elements such as the Porta del Drac in the Pavelló Güell. 

In addition, VIMAC develops hyperrealistic recreations based on surveys that enable highly accurate interactive experiences, such as that carried out in the Casa Parés Foundry or the Casa del Guarda in Parc Güell. VIMAC transforms these and other heritage recreations into applications for mobile devices, which can be used to see scenes as complex as those in Barcino 3D

The Research Center for Visualization, Virtual Reality and Graphics Interaction (ViRVIG), associated with various departments and the Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB) also works on the modelling and visualization in real-time of complex scenes in urban and rural environments and of elements of cultural heritage. The Center has undertaken projects for the National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC), for Esteyco, a civil engineering and architecture consulting firm, and for the Sagrada Família Foundation. 

In urban environments today, modelling of cities and simulation are tools that can be of great use to design or implement management policies based, for example, on dynamic patterns of social uses of public spaces. In this area, ViRVIG has developed crowd simulations that are used in the study of mobility or to analyse evacuation methods in emergency situations. 

In this field, Ernest Redondo, a lecturer in the Department of Architectural Representation (RA), creates urban virtual scenes using point clouds or 3D models with a high level of realism, which could also be seen at Market BCN3 360º.

More immersive scenes in health and industry 4.0

Immersive scenes are used in the health sector. For example, gaming has been incorporated into the rehabilitation of patients through ‘serious games’, and virtual tools are used to assist in surgery or clinical psychology, or in the training of professionals

Part of the work of the Research Center for Visualization, Virtual Reality and Graphics Interaction (ViRVIG), associated with various departments and the Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB), is focused on modelling and real-time visualization of medical and protein data to support clinical diagnosis and teaching practice. For example, augmented and virtual reality systems (semi-immersive and immersive) for analysing artificial anatomical models (heart, lungs, circulatory or digestive system) have been created for the Hospital and for the Campus Docent Sant Joan de Deu.

In industrial environments, virtual reality techniques applied to the design, maintenance or control of industrial plants will play a key role in the shift to the model of industry 4.0 and in the optimization of products and processes. In this area, ViRVIG has simulated mechanical assemblies for SEAT to validate the system and analyse potential incidents, among other projects. 

More expertise and first-hand experience

At Virtual Reality Market BCN 360º, projects were exhibited that have been developed by the Computer Applications Centre on Architecture and Urban Representation (CAIRAT), associated with the Vallès School of Architecture (ETSAV); the Image Processing and Multimedia Technology Center (CITM) of the Fundació Politècnica de Catalunya (FPC); and the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB). In addition, augmented reality applications were demonstrated that are related to the recording of georeferenced objects researched by Dolors Royo, lecturer in the Department of Computer Architecture.

Some of these projects will also be shown in the Virtual Reality Space, installed in the DHUB to provide visitors with immersive experiences and demonstrations of current applications. 

In turn, Marc Ripoll, lecturer on the bachelor's degree in Video Game Design and Development  at the CITM and the master’s degree in Video Game Design and Development at the UPC School, and founder of ‘The Game Forger’ studio, gave the talk 'Video games, entertainment and the challenge of developing for virtual reality’. This was held on Friday 28 April, from 4.55 pm to 5.40 pm, in Aula B+C, and was open to the public if they had registered previously.


More information: Jordi Martín
Senior Industrial Liaison Officer
Phone: 93.4054690
Email: info.cit@upc.edu