Projects

Building Blocks for Advanced Building Information Modeling
Project Description

The USM Team 1was tasked to develop three modules which would advance the capability of the USACE ERDC CAD/BIM center to plan, develop, and host "Virtual Lockdown" decision making sessions with remote participants from around the world. The motivating problem as described to the USM Team 1 by Ken Cook, Director of the ERDC CDA-BIM center was as follows:

"Adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has advanced tremendously in saving time and
money for the USACE in the construction of new buildings by unifying previously disparate
information in a single electronic document, but finalizing this document has become very complex
requiring buy-in and input from a very wide variety of parties including architects, engineers,
construction management, end users and facilities managers. This is currently achieved by having "lockdown"
meetings in which all the parties are flown to a location and meet for as long as week in
continuous session until agreement can be achieved. This is naturally very
expensive and getting everyone together can be a difficult scheduling task."

The aim of the Building Blocks for Advanced Building Information Modeling Team 1-Tasks 1, 2 & 3 is to provide a new capacity for the CAD/BIM center to hold some sections of lockdown meetings remotely in three areas of importance: Architectural Review, Site Planning and Excavation Planning.

For each area the USM Building Blocks Team 1 was assigned a primary contact as follows:
  • Architectural Review: Ed Johnson
  • Site Planning: Ed Huell
  • Excavation Planning: Laurel Gorman
The three tasks share a common presentation technology, O3D, which is a web-based graphics card-accelerated emerging technology from Google. The Building Blocks client was written using a combination of JavaScript,PHP, and HTML which provided the ability to develop an interactive web-based collaborative virtual reality environment for ERDC staff to visualize and manipulate projects under consideration. On the other hand, he server was written using a combination of C++ and MySQL so that the information about a particular project could be stored, manipulated, updated, and recalled for future needs. Lastly, the security was implemented using SSH and LDAP which allowed users to access information particular to their project with a known identity. In order to develop the "Virtual Lockdown", three faculty and sixteen students at the University of Southern Mississippi utilized facilities owned by the School of Construction at USM, the Innovation for Construction and Engineering Enhancement Center, which is a multidisciplinary research center organized to enhance the economic development and educational opportunities for its participants. The sixteen students who worked on this project included a diverse bunch of students such as four computer undergraduate students, five computer science graduate students, and five construction graduate students. In addition to a team for developing the code, some hardware was purchased including two servers for hosting the client and server. In addition to the servers, two computers were purchased to provide optimal working stations for students. In order to complete the project several visits were made to the ERDC in Vicksburg, MS, as well as numerous teleconferences, and email in order to exchange ideas.

Project Proposal

While this is a short description of the project with the USACE a complete copy of the project proposal can be cound here here.

Project Final Report

As this phase of the project ended in January 2011 the final project report which contains the complete background of the project, code used to implement the project, and other information can be found here.
A Simplified Web Interface Manager for Construction Closeout and Installation Management
Project Description

The University of Southern Mississippi team collaborated with Edward Huell of the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop a simplified web interface for retrieving and modifying BIM information extracted from a REVIT model database. In developing this web interface, two types of users were identified, the SWIM Super User and the SWIM End User. The purpose of the Super User is to set up the web front end for the End User. Thus, the Super User needed access to the REVIT model, the ability to push the REVIT information into a database, the ability to create the web front end for the end user, and the ability to convert the Information in the database about a REVIT model into a COBie Spreadsheet format. The End User on the other hand only needed access to the home screen of the web front end so that they could preview information about the REVIT model, preview and manipulate this information, preview the COBie Spreadsheet, and save the changes back to the database.

Project Proposal

While this is a short description of the project with the USACE a complete copy of the project proposal can be cound here here.

Project Final Report

As this phase of the project ended in November 2010 the final project report which contains the complete background of the project, code used to implement the project, and other information can be found here.
Affordable and Accessible Drug and Alcohol Aftercare for Mississippians
Project Description
The main thrust of The Affordable and Accessible Drug and Alcohol Aftercare for Mississippians (AADAA) is to develop a Virtual Reality Aftercare Service which extends existing drug and alcohol aftercare services through a new medium. As such the objectives of the project are to develop a Virtual Reality Aftercare service with the following properties:
  • It must be flexible enough to encompass the wide variety of treatment philosophies found in Mississippi.
  • It must available through ordinary PCs with normal internet connections
  • It must have sufficient data safeguards to be HIPAA compliant
  • It must be simple enough to administer that no special technical expertise is needed
  • It must be inexpensive enough to self-sustaining with modest user fees
In order to reach these goals the first step is to collaborate with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health to identify two of the 30 in-patient treatment centers in Mississippi that will bechosen to begin providing remote assistance to selected aftercare patients. The criteria for selecting a treatment center as a potential research partner will be (1) expressed level of administrative interest in the Virtual Reality aftercare concept as a potential self-sustaining new service, (2) enthusiasm of the potential research partner's treatment staff for the Virtual Aftercare as a new medium to extend existing services and (3) willingness of the treatment center's clinicians to work with the AADAA team to identify the mixture of Virtual Aftercare services which would be a natural continuation of existing services in the new medium. The second step is to build an alliance with the two selected in-patient treatment centers to initiate the creation of basic infrastructure (hardware and software) to assist recovering addicts remotely. This process will meld existing working prototypes into services for each center which match their existing aftercare services and needs. For example, a allied treatment center may stress one-on-one counseling for aftercare. In response the AADAA team would multiplex a dozen or more one-on-one Virtual counseling session facilities with a web scheduler to provide high capacity offices for the extension of existing services in the new medium. Another allied in-patient center may stress group interaction and informal "play" and social interaction. In response the AADAA team would combine group meeting areas with open informal social gathering places where recovering addicts would socialize and support each other with varying levels of supervision that match the center's philosophy and current aftercare services. In all cases the intention is to extend existing services into the new medium of Virtual Reality. The third step is to begin to provide through the allied treatment centers 6,500 hours of remote aftercare assistance. This assistance will be hosted on independently-power-supplied highsecurity redundant ITech Data center servers located at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Treatment center staff and patients will reach the Virtual Treatment facility through secure web connections which are protected with multiple layers of data encryption and access control to The University of Southern Mississippi Affordable and Accessible Drug and Alcohol Aftercare for Mississippians - Project Narrative 6 meet HIPAA compliance requirements that all patient interactions may only be accessed only as deemed necessary by treatment center clinical staff and administrators. The fourth step is to evaluate the success of the delivered service in matching the existing aftercare services of each allied in-patient treatment center. This evaluation will be through on-line surveys of allied treatment center Administrators and Clinicians directed towards the original goals of the project:
  • Was the Virtual Reality Aftercare delivered flexible enough to encompass the treatment philosophy of each center?
  • Were patients and treatment staff able to easily and reliably reach the Virtual Treatment facility through ordinary PCs with normal internet connections?
  • Were all patient interactions sufficiently guarded from unauthorized access? ? Were the developed server simple enough to administer without specialized technical expertise?
  • Could the Virtual Aftercare system developed with the allied treatment providers be sustained with modest user fees? One additional project objective is to disseminate the results of the project to the wider communities of interested scholars. As such, the results will be collated in the AADAA final report and disseminated in scholarly peer reviewed conferences and journals.

Project Proposal

While this is a short description of the project, a complete copy of the project proposal can be cound here here.

Project Final Report

This project is still undergoing development thus a final report is not yet available.