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7
min.
2022-11-17

MaxWhere a digitális oktatás szolgálatában - és még tovább

A digitális vagy IKT-kompetenciák fejlesztése az Európai Unió kiemelt stratégiai célja, hiszen a korszerű eszközökhöz értő felnőttek könnyebben boldogulnak a munkaerőpiacon, ami hosszú távon a régiók fejlesztésével is szorosan összefügg. Számos nemzetközi projekt segíti a közoktatást a diákok alapszintű és szakmai digitális tudásának fejlesztésében. A közoktatási intézményekből ma már a legtöbb esetben nem hiányoznak a számítógépek, tabletek. Főként a pandémia óta még a hátrányos helyzetű térségekbe is eljutottak (még ha nem feltétlenül elegendő számban is) tabletek, okostelefonok, laptopok. Az ezeken megvalósítható élményszerű oktatás kulcsfontosságú eszköze a készségfejlesztésnek. A cselekvéses tanulás (learning by doing) elmélete szerint a diáknak a gyakorlatban kell megtapasztalnia egy adott tudáselem működését, hogy tartós ismeretbővülés és készségfejlődés következzen be. Ha azonban az adott dolog nem (vagy csak nehezen) elérhető, szimulációs megoldások állnak rendelkezésre. Ilyen szimulációt kínál a MaxWhere a 3D Printing Workshop terével, amely bárki számára hozzáférhető, ráadásul böngészőből is elérhető. 

A STEAM Upgrade projekt

A MaxWhere alapítói és fejlesztői között számos egyetemi oktatót, oktatástechnológiai szakembert találunk. Így egyértelmű, hogy a társadalmi felelősségvállalás részeként a MaxWhere csapata elkötelezett az oktatási alkalmazások fejlesztése mellett. Így csatlakoztunk a Tallinni Egyetem és a linzi Johannes Kepler Egyetem felkérésére az ún. STEAM Upgrade projekthez, amelynek egyik fókusza a 3D nyomtatás mint tartalom kidolgozása a STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics) képzésekben. A munkacsoport tagja még a Craftbot, közismert 3D nyomtatók gyártója is. 

A STEAM Upgrade projekt célja egy digitális kompetenciafejlesztési rendszer létrehozása a STEAM tantárgyak tanulásához az alap- és középfokú oktatás körében, amelynek része egy szabadon hozzáférhető tudásbázis és egy virtuális STEAM laboratórium is.

Ennek jegyében a linzi egyetem arra kérte fel a MaxWhere csapatát, hogy egy interaktív virtuális térben mutassuk be a 3D nyomtatás folyamatát, és szimuláljuk egy 3D nyomtató működését. A MaxWhere 3D Printing Workshop térben szimulált nyomtató egy Creality Ender 3, a világ egyik legjelentősebb 3D-nyomtatógyártója által fejlesztett berendezés üzemelését mintázza, de az azonos működési elv miatt az itt megszerzett tudás bármely más nyomtatónál is alkalmazható.

A 3D Printing Workshop tér működése 

Ez a MaxWhere-tér böngészőből elérhető, így a MaxWhere kliens telepítése sem szükséges hozzá. Felhasználói fiók sem szükséges, betöltés után egyből a térben találjuk magunkat. Ezt a teret bárki különösebb előképzettség nélkül megnyithatja, és csupán a MaxWhere használatának alapszintű ismerete (navigáció, smartboardok használata) szükséges hozzá.

A térbe belépve egyrészt smartboardokat látunk. Ezeken a 3D nyomtatás legfontosabb alapismereteit láthatjuk: a 3D nyomtatás történetétől a mai nyomtatók működési elveiig. A tér középpontjában pedig egy Creality Ender 3 nyomtató virtuális ikerpárja található egy egyszerű kezelőpanellel. Azért ezt a modellt választottuk, mert ez gyakori, népszerű és hozzáférhető, így aki a későbbiekben “tényleges” 3D nyomtatóval dolgozna, annak az eszköz már ismerős lesz.

A tér sikeres betöltése után a következő lépésekkel kezdhetjük meg a nyomtatást:

  • közelítsünk a nyomtató kijelzőjéhez, és válasszuk ki a Tallózás gombot
  • a fájlböngésző ablakban kiválaszthatjuk a nyomtatni kívánt gcode fájlt
  • blogcikkünk alján mi is ajánlunk két gcode fájlt, amellyel bárki kipróbálhatja a nyomtatószimulátort
  • kattintsunk a start gombra
  • a nyomtató elindítja a munkát

A tér teljes mértékben testre szabható. Egyrészt a szerkesztési jogosultsággal rendelkező felhasználók módosíthatják a smartboardok tartalmát, másrészt a 3D nyomtató működése is szemléltethető bármilyen gcode fájl importálásával, amely az Ender 3 nyomtatóhoz készült.

3D nyomtatás szimuláció MaxWhere-ben

A 3D szimulációs projekt nemzetközi hatása

A linzi Johannes Kepler Egyetem oktatásmódszertani doktori iskolájában évente százak tanulnak a világ minden tájáról. Ezen kívül számos workshopot, konferenciát rendeznek. Így a doktoranduszok széles körében válhat ismertté a MaxWhere részvételével zajló projekt, aminek közvetett hatása lehet még, hogy ösztönözheti számos más élményalapú tanulási, szimulációs projekt létrejöttét. Az oktatásban a virtualizációs megoldások szerepe egyébként egyre nő, így különösen fontos, hogy ezeket tudományos megalapozottsággal fejlesszék, majd szakértők validálják. 

A 3D nyomtatási szimulációs tér értéke az oktatásban

A tér egyszerre szolgál közoktatási és ismeretterjesztő célokat. Egy “igazi” 3D nyomtató üzemeltetése, karbantartása és esetleges javítása magas költséggel, sok idő ráfordításával járhat, és olyan ismeretanyag kell hozzá, amivel egy általános képzettségű tanító vagy tanár nem feltétlenül rendelkezik. Egy belépő szintű 3D nyomtató ára, valamint a működtetéshez szükséges anyagok költsége a legtöbb iskola számára túl magas lenne, amihez hozzáadódik, hogy a nyomtató üzemeltetéséhez szükséges szaktudás nem áll minden intézményben rendelkezésre.

A MaxWhere 3D Printing Workshop teret bárki megnyithatja, majd beviheti a tanórájára, és megismertetheti a diákokkal a 3D nyomtatás eljárását. A virtuálisan kinyomtatott tárgyaknak köszönhetően így a tanulás élményszerű és szórakoztató lesz. Az oktatótér a fejlesztés végeztével publikussá tehető, így bárki használhatja. 

A tanulás nem ér véget az objektum kinyomtatásánál: a diákok akár saját maguk is elkészíthetik a kinyomtatandó geometriát, így az egész folyamat az ő kezük alatt bontakozik ki. Érdekes és ingyenes szoftverekkel, mint a Tinkercad és a Kiri:Moto, rövid idő alatt elvégezhető feladat egy kézzel rajzolt 2D kontúr 3D testé alakítása, majd a slice-olás és a nyomtatás elindítása.

A tér értéke a professzionális (ipari, logisztikai) felhasználás számára

A 3D printing szimulációs tér létrehozása magával hozott olyan fejlesztéseket, amelyek a Maxwhere alapképességeit is tovább bővítették. A technológia szimulálása során felmerült kihívások így jóval szélesebb körű fejlődést jelentenek a MaxWhere számára. Lehetségessé vált “valós időben” megjeleníteni a nyomtatás során a filamentből kialakuló háromdimenziós tárgyakat. Ilyen megjelenítési képességre szükség van más additív technológiák vizualizációjában is, de az anyageltávolítás is hasonló módon modellezhető. 


Tutorial: https://docs.maxwhere.com/usersguide/index.html 

Gcode fájlok: 

https://mw-public-downloads.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/3D-printing-resources/mw-logo.gcode

https://mw-public-downloads.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/3D-printing-resources/steamupgrade-logo.gcode

7
min.
2022-11-17

MaxWhere at the service of digital education - and more

The development of digital or ICT competencies is a critical strategic goal of the European Union since adults who know how to use modern tools can more easily succeed in the labour market, which is closely related to the region's long-term development. Several international projects help public education develop students' primary and professional digital skills. Nowadays, in most cases, public education institutions have computers and tablets. Especially since the pandemic, tablets, smartphones, and laptops have reached disadvantaged areas (even if not necessarily in sufficient numbers). The experiential education that can be implemented on these devices is a crucial tool for skill development. According to the theory of learning by doing, the student must experience a specific knowledge element in practice to achieve permanent knowledge expansion and skill development. However, if these tools are difficult to reach or implement in educational institutions, simulation solutions are available. MaxWhere offers a simulation with the space of a 3D Printing Workshop, making it accessible to anyone and can also be opened from a browser.

The STEAM Upgrade project

Among the founders and developers of MaxWhere are many university lecturers and educational technology specialists. Thus, as part of social responsibility, the MaxWhere team is committed to developing educational applications. In this spirit, we joined the so-called STEAM Upgrade project at the request of Tallinn University and the Johannes Kepler University of Linz. One of the focuses of STEAM Upgrade project is the development of 3D printing as content in STAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics) courses. Craftbot, a well-known manufacturer of 3D printers, is also a member of the working group. 

The STEAM Upgrade project aims to create a digital competence development system for learning STEAM subjects in primary and secondary education, including a freely accessible knowledge base and a virtual STEAM laboratory.

Thus, the University of Linz asked the MaxWhere team to present the 3D printing process in an interactive virtual space and simulate the operation of a 3D printer. The printer simulated in MaxWhere 3D Printing Workshop models the operation of a Creality Ender 3, a device developed by one of the world's most important 3D printer manufacturers. However, the knowledge gained here can also be applied to any other printer due to the same working principle.

How does the 3D Printing Workshop work? 

This MaxWhere space is available from the browser, so it is not necessary to install the MaxWhere client. A user account is not required either. After loading MaxWhere, we find ourselves in the space immediately. Anyone can open this space without special training. A basic user level of MaxWhere (navigation, use of smartboards) is required.

Entering the space, we see smartboards. On these, we can learn the basics of 3D printing: from the history of 3D printing to the operating principles of today's printers. In the center of the space is a virtual twin of a Creality Ender 3 printer with a simple control panel. We chose this model because it is common, popular and accessible, so anyone working with an actual 3D printer will already be familiar with the device.

After successfully loading the space, you can start printing by following these simple steps:

  • approach the printer display and select the Browse button
  • in the file browser window, you can select the gcode file you want to print
  • at the bottom of this article, we also recommend two gcode files with which anyone can try the printer simulator
  • click the start button
  • the printer starts the job

The space is fully customisable. On the one hand, users with Editor role can modify the content of the smartboards. On the other hand, the operation of the 3D printer can be illustrated by importing any gcode file that was created for the Ender 3 printer.

3D printing simulation in MaxWhere

The international impact of the 3D simulation project

Every year, hundreds of people from all over the world study at the doctoral school of educational methodology at Johannes Kepler University in Linz. In addition, many workshops and conferences are organised. In this way, the project, with the participation of MaxWhere, can become known to a wide range of doctoral students, which may also indirectly stimulate the creation of many other experience-based learning and simulation projects. The role of virtualisation solutions in education is growing, so it is essential that they are developed with a scientific basis and then validated by experts.

The importance of the 3D printing simulation space in education

The space serves both public education and science communication purposes. The operation, maintenance and eventual repair of a "real" 3D printer can be expensive, time-consuming, and require knowledge that a teacher with general training does not necessarily have. The price of an entry-level 3D printer and the cost of the materials needed to operate it would be too high for most schools. Furthermore, not all institutions have trained staff to handle an actual 3D printer.

Anyone can open the MaxWhere 3D Printing Workshop space, then bring it into their class and introduce students to the process of 3D printing. Thanks to the virtually printed objects, learning becomes experiential and fun. The space can be made public once the development is complete so anyone can use it. 

Learning does not end when the object is printed: students can even create the geometry to be printed, so the whole process unfolds under their hands. An easy and short task can be transforming a hand-drawn 2D contour into a 3D figure with interesting and free software like Tinkercad and Kiri:Moto, then start slicing and printing. 

The value of the space for professional use: industry, logistics

The creation of the 3D printing simulation space led to developments that further expanded the basic capabilities of Maxwhere. The challenges encountered during the simulation of the technology thus represent a much broader development for MaxWhere. It became possible to display the three-dimensional objects formed from the filament during printing in "real-time". Such display capability is also needed to visualise other additive technologies, but material removal can also be modelled similarly.

Tutorial: https://docs.maxwhere.com/usersguide/index.html 

Gcode files: https://mw-public-downloads.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/3D-printing-resources/mw-logo.gcode
https://mw-public-downloads.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/3D-printing-resources/steamupgrade-logo.gcode

7
min.
2022-11-02

MaxWhere 7 – The new era of integrated 3D spaces

We're pleased to deliver to you MaxWhere 7 - a revolution in self-created 3D spaces to manage your own journeys, packed with several new features. The latest version includes Demo Spaces for you to sample MaxWhere features, the ability to clone these into your own spaces, brand new subscription packages, appropriate admin roles, and exciting features that make MaxWhere even more efficient and easier to use.  

Revolutionizing self-service 3D spaces

  • Try MaxWhere Self-Service Features: use our Demo Spaces to sample MaxWhere features
  • Create Your Own Spaces: easily clone your Own Spaces from the Demo Spaces to develop your own flows and experiences for your own user groups.
  • Payment Platform Integration: with all sort’s of pay-as-you-go functionality to make sure you only pay for what you use.
  • Project Explorer: enabling you to tailor and customize all your projects, and give access to the right groups so you can share and collaborate on the experience.
  • New SmartBoard Features: use our self-service, editable SmartBoard feature to publish content in various formats and enable a shared experience.
  • Other Technical Innovations: our new deep-tech physics API enables camera movement as close as possible to real life interaction.

We believe our new MaxWhere 7 will meet all your needs. In order to encourage the transition, we will be sunsetting our older versions – sorry to see them go as they were an important milestone in our journey. Please keep in mind the following dates:

  • MaxWhere 5 will be supported until 2022. 11. 18.  
    After this date, the installation of MaxWhere 5 will no longer be possible, and we will discontinue supporting this version.  If you use this version, please let us know by submitting a ticket at https://www.maxwhere.com/support
  • MaxWhere 6 will be supported until 2023. 03. 31.
    You can use your previous projects and spaces immediately after downloading and logging in to MaxWhere 7.

Demo Spaces

One of the most important new features of MaxWhere 7 is the introduction of Demo Spaces – where you can try the extensive feature set of MaxWhere. After playing around in the Demo spaces, use these to clone your Own Space and start your MaxWhere journey for you and your user community.  

Demo spaces can be used for you to try MaxWhere functionality on your own – placing content, making presentations, enabling SmartBoard features. Once you get to know MaxWhere within the Demo space, we are sure you will want your own space, which you can purchase by cloning our ever-growing list of demo spaces.

Do you have your own demo space you want us to include? No problem, feel free to raise a ticket and we will get in touch to integrate your space as soon as possible.

MaxWhere Demo Spaces

Subscriber Packages

Once you decide you want your Own Space, the Space Creator Interface has been developed to manage your own Spaces, assign user access and select the subscription packages you need for your Spaces. This interface allows you to select the Demo Space to start your new space, choose the proper subscription package, and share it with others. The content and pricing of each package have been designed considering the needs of MaxWhere users – making sure you and your user community pay for only what you use.  

There is a limited free version available for micro-communities and non-commercial use, and there are three additional subscription packages to choose from:  

  • Individual package,  
  • Team package,  
  • Business package.  

Buying a package is quick and convenient online, just use a credit card. We have integrated Stripe, one of the most popular online payment platforms.  

The New Project Explorer

Based on user feedback, the Project Explorer menu has been introduced to replace the Project Editor menu (orange menu) in MaxWhere 7. Users with the proper permissions can see the Projects and Selection Panels of a Space, and easily select, load, and rearrange them.  

We hope this feature will significantly increase the clarity of the content in the Spaces. In addition, the quick ("blue") SmartBoard Editor menu will remain available to manage the placement of SmartBoards in the Space.  

The new Project Explorer and Selection Panels in MaxWhere 7

Administrative Roles in Spaces

To achieve more effective everyday use, we have restructured our permissions system. Within each space, user will have

  • Access right within the entire space itself
  • Access rights associated with particular projects

To see a project, a member of the user community will have to be invited within the space – with various access rights granted as described below. Within the space, you and your user community will have the right to set publicly available projects for all to see, and you can also keep projects entirely private while you work on them, or invitation only thereafter.

Space level access will be granted along the following categories of access:  

  • Space Owner: The Space Owner is the user with a linked account to the Space. Purchases are also made from this account, and the user can invite others to join the Space. The Space Owner sees all content uploaded to the Space. In addition, the Space Owner sets the Admins of the Space.  
  • Space Admin: users with the Space Admin rights can also invite other users to the Space and manage all its content.  
  • Space Editor: Space Editors can create new projects in a Space and upload content into them. They can invite other users already added to the Space to edit and view the projects.  
  • Space Viewer: users who can enter the Space and view the projects shared with them. If they have the rights, they can also edit projects, but they cannot create new projects.

We have also restructured the Project-related permissions and created three groups. This allows not just Space-level but Project-level user management as well.  

  • Project Creator: The Project Creator is the user who created the project. They can be the owners, administrators, or editors of the Space (users with Owner and Admin rights in the Space will automatically obtain Project Creator status for the project). They can modify projects and invite or delete other users as well.  
  • Project Editor: This group of users can edit the content of an existing project and can invite Project Viewers to that project.  
  • Project Viewer: users with whom a project is shared with; they can view but cannot edit the project.  

Additionally, in MaxWhere 7 desktop client (and in future versions), only registered and logged-in users can open Spaces.  

However, no worries if you want to share your Space with someone outside of MaxWhere: no registration is needed to open a Space in our web application. This allows MaxWhere content and Demo Spaces to be easily shared with new users.  

Demo Space for Education

Project-based Daily Operations

As most companies and individual users work on a project basis, MaxWhere 7 has been designed to enable project-based operations. To make this easier for you, accessing and organizing content in MaxWhere 7 is done via projects. Each SmartBoard that is added to the Space must belong to a project. You can add Selection Panels to any project to organize, display, and load projects into the Space enabling you and your team to present content assembled in the most appropriate manner for various user personas.  

Two new features are available in the project settings: autoload and hide. Projects set to autoload in a Space will load by default every time that Space is launched, ensuring that the visitor encounters the specific content and user journey that the space editors envisioned.  

Projects set to hide will not be visible in the Project Explorer. This enables items – that do not belong to any specific projects - to be placed on the SmartBoards (e.g.: company logo) making them appear as default part of the Space.  

Project-based operations will also play an essential role in the future. Projects will also control the permissions of any new, dynamic, user-editable elements.  

SmartBoard Features

SmartBoards are the windows to content and collaboration within MaxWhere – therefore we take development and enhancement of SmartBoard features very seriously. We enhanced SmartBoards with more configuration options. They will be more convenient to use and offer more flexibility in editing Spaces. New SmartBoard settings are:  

  • SmartBoards set to Image frame can display an image file or static web content while requiring fewer resources, allowing you to place a lot of them in your space.  
  • Sleepy SmartBoards are SmartBoards with content that does not need to be changed frequently. These SmartBoards can be put into sleep mode during operation: their content would remain visible, but their resource consumption is significantly reduced, allowing MaxWhere to operate faster.  
  • A Billboard is a type of SmartBoard designed to display static information material to the viewers of the Space, be it a logo, a poster, or any document. This SmartBoard type is not interactive.  

In addition, we also added new properties that make working with SmartBoards more efficient. Just use checkboxes to switch between them:

  • Transparent display  
  • Automatic shutdown to reduce resource consumption (Fall asleep)  
  • Hide the URL bar to prevent changes to SmartBoard content  
  • Hide capsule so that you are not distracted when opening it (only the content is visible)  
  • Hide SmartBoard when it is not needed  
  • "Never wake up,"i.e., content is displayed (e.g., company logo), but no interaction is possible.

Technical Improvements

There are two major technological innovations in MaxWhere 7. We created the possibility of physics-integrated camera movement. This will soon allow us to introduce the ability to avoid "passing through" elements in space and thus providing a better experience when using MaxWhere. Additionally, we implemented a new physics API that will enable more realistic physics simulation for different MaxWhere applications in the future.  

What will you create in MaxWhere? Get MaxWhere 7 here.  

7
min.
2021-09-21

The Progress Behind the Web and 3D Technologies

We have good news! What if we told you that according to our measurements, users could achieve 30%-50% better recall and 30% faster task completion times when using MaxWhere’s 3D spaces compared to traditional web-based content sharing methods? Is MaxWhere 3D the new way to go?

Let’s go back in time, say, 22 years. That’s right: imagine you went back to the year 2000 and had to explain to people what the modern Internet was all about. You’d soon realize that you barely have the conceptual tools to do so! Consider the technological and social context of the Internet back in those old days:

  • On the hardware side, the 1st iPhone hadn’t even been released yet, not to mention netbooks, tablets, Chromebooks and all the other devices that have appeared since.
  • On the software side, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, and all the other cloud-based social and office platforms we take for granted today.
  • On the cultural side, we barely had blogs (a term that was coined in 1997), not to mention vlogs, podcasts, and other forms of Internet media (and creativity) that are consumed and enjoyed by billions of people today.

It’s small wonder you’d be at a loss to give people a picture of what the modern Internet is in a way that is true not only to its technological background, but also to its social and cultural relevance. You’d also find it difficult to communicate the sense of inevitability we all get when contemplating living without our gadgets, even if for a short while.

Virtual Reality is Here (Again)

Jumping back to 2022, we at MaxWhere believe we are in a similar situation when trying to forecast and appreciate the relevance of 3D technologies in the coming decades.

In the past, we’ve lived through many a hype cycle related to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other 3D display devices. Remember when all the buzz was about the Oculus, or even before that, about Google Glasses? These devices (and crucially the graphics formats and processing pipelines underlying their functionality) have never become truly widespread, at least not in the way one would have expected based on the hype. But this doesn’t mean that they cannot serve as part of the technological foundations and the know-how underlying a truly ground-breaking revolution in computing.

Consider the deep ways in which the TCP/IP protocol stack and the World Wide Web have contributed to what we know as the Internet today! Both of these technologies are quite old, having been invented in the 1970s and the 1980s. Yet, they form an integral part of the modern Internet. In the same way, we can rest assured that the achievements behind the Oculus, Google Glasses and other 3D display technologies are here to stay with us – it's just difficult to appreciate their role since the ecosystem that will surround them to generate the next computing revolution is still in flux.

Join the 3D Revolution!

What is needed for such a revolution vis-à-vis 3D technologies to take place, and what would this revolution look like?

If we can learn anything from the past, it’s that such revolutions start off almost unnoticed, but eventually go on to reach a dizzying pace, supported by a whole ecosystem of applications that connect existing data sources, applications, and use cases to form a larger platform. Usually, as all the tools and use cases coalesce around such a new platform, it becomes increasingly impractical, and later impossible to ignore it, and it turns out that the new platform can still accommodate all the applications and interfaces that users were previously accustomed to.

So, while it’s true that even today, one can still use a command line interface to configure many applications, even on the cloud; and while it’s also true that we still often use offline applications to carry out professional activities or to play games, we find ourselves doing this less and less.  

The overall reality is that in the early 21st century, we have moved on from command lines to 2D graphical interfaces (icons, images, mouse / touch interactions), and from desktop platforms to Mobile, Web and the Cloud.  

All three of these platforms offer increasingly practical substitutes and even radical enhancements to the key applications we use every day. For example, the Cloud combines the usefulness of existing offline software solutions with the added novelty of collaborative work, social interactions and high-level data interoperability, enabling users to export content in one application and to import it into another, thereby integrating a growing variety of data sources.  

In a similar vein, 3D display technologies promise to revolutionize the way we interact with data, both personal and professional, in networked and social settings based on interactions that rely on spatial constructs. Nowadays, this vision has gained enough clarity to become crystallized in the technology-driven buzzword known as the ‘Metaverse’.

MaxWhere: Cloud and Desktop Computing with 3D Integration

Let’s consider an example that will aptly describe the vision that we at MaxWhere share about the powerful capabilities of a future Metaverse. Today, it is a commonplace experience in professional settings that pdfs, documents, videos, and web links are shared among co-workers over e-mail or a company-wide file sharing facility. Content that is shared in this way is then either downloaded and accessed using offline software tools or opened in a web browser. The content is then interacted with either individually or collaboratively.  

This capability for sharing information across multiple channels in interoperable and collaborative ways is already extremely powerful – and, frankly, would have been unimaginable a mere 20 years ago. But integrated into a Metaverse of the future, the same functionalities could be accessed more seamlessly and at less cognitive costs. What do we mean by this?

Imagine if instead of sharing a set of files (whether offline or web-based) one-by-one, a user could instead lay out all of this content in a 3D space, and then share the whole space with others. The space would then become a novel unit of information (and a novel potentiality for interaction) that not only organizes the content, but also contextualizes it:

  • In terms of organization, a spatial arrangement would allow someone to resize the different documents so that some of them appear smaller or larger than others, or relatively closer to or farther from one another in the 3D space.
  • In terms of contextualization, the 3D space would undoubtedly have features of its own that can serve as digital affordances to drive the implicit interpretations that users have about the content in the space, and the ways in which users will interact with the content. For example, large billboards or videos placed on the walls would implicitly signal to users that they can get an overall picture of what is inside the space by looking at that content first. Similarly, an office desk in a corner of the room would be a natural place to put books or documents that require a deeper kind of concentration and more time to work on.

A key insight behind MaxWhere’s technology is that the human brain, by virtue of its operating from its first stages of development in 3D, is naturally adapted to thinking in terms of 3D relationships and associations.  

Outstanding Effectiveness in 3D

At MaxWhere, we are certain that the next step in the progress of computing is to harness this innate human capability, to achieve a higher bandwidth of collaborative information sharing using 3D metaphors. Interaction with information (i.e., reading, understanding, sharing, editing) is much faster in such an environment, for two reasons:

  1. the relationships between and relative importance of different documents are clear by virtue of the spatial arrangement.
  1. users in a 3D environment no longer have to search for specific documents within a folder-file hierarchy as is done traditionally; instead, they open the space, and all of the content just appears in its own place.
According to our measurements, users can achieve 30%-50% better recall and 30% faster task completion times when using such 3D spaces compared to traditional web-based content sharing methods.

MaxWhere’s 3D platform was created with this underlying vision in mind. Today, MaxWhere allows users to browse 3D spaces in much the same way that one would browse webpages on the world-wide web, while also being able to create their own spaces, populate them with their own projects and share the spaces and projects with others. In some specialized cases beyond collaborative work (e.g., industrial applications, professional training, art exhibitions), the ability to configure and share 3D objects is also important.  

Currently we provide a growing number of clients with custom-tailored solutions for the manipulation and sharing of 3D configurations of objects. Increasingly, these features will be rolled out to all of our users, making MaxWhere a versatile platform for configuring, sharing, and working in 3D spaces.

Download MaxWhere if you want to be part of the 3D revolution and are interested in getting started with your own space! If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

12
min.
2021-09-21
Digital Twin

East West Gate Terminal: a huge intermodal hubwhose digital twin runs in MaxWhere

Europe's largest intermodal logistic investment, gateway of the New Silk Road being built between Europe and China, is visualized and made remotely controllable by MaxWhere. The visualization on the MaxWhere platform enables the safe and efficient operation of the logistics terminal, the training of employees, troubleshooting and many other operations. The application of the digital twin serves cost-effectiveness and enables quick intervention and continuous data analysis.

EWG: intermodal logistic hub in Fényeslitke,Hungary

East-West Gate (EWG) is an intermodal (i.e. combining rail and road modes of transport and ensuring the connection between them) terminal in Fényeslitke (Hungary). The purpose of the investment is to relieve the burden on the logistics hubs of the Belarusian-Polish border by connecting east and west, speed up the east-west freight transport, and not least to put Hungary back on the world map of logistics. The terminal will carry out the transshipment required due to the change of railway gauge using the latest technology and will handle up to 1 million 20-foot containers (TEU) per year. This means that the EWG Terminal will be the largest such facility in Europe in terms of its theoretical capacity and area.

This 85-hectare site has been fitted with IoT (Internet of Things) sensors at all necessary points, which send data in real time to MaxWhere's information system. These sensores, as well as the means of transport (freight trains, trucks, cranes, etc.), the transshipment and security equipment, the cameras, and even the movement and status of the employees are visualized and analysed by MaxWhere.

Technology: the history of MaxWhere development

How did MaxWhere become capable of tracking 1,500+ containers, 50+ people, 850 m long railway crane tracks, lots of trucks and semi-trailers, as well as real-time imaging and remote control of an 85ha area?

Most people know MaxWhere from the impressive 3D spaces and smartboards. However, its story is not from here;it did not start from the world of management war rooms and product showcases. MaxWhere was first a digital/virtual twin as a set of 3D spaces displaying smartboards, and with its latest large-scale project it returned to these roots.

MaxWhere is known by many people for its exciting 3D spaces and smartboards, but before the well-known user interface, the basic idea was born long before. The central thought was the need of a software allowing the user to manage the communication betweenindustrial systems and the real-time data required for management. The goal of Dr. Péter Baranyi, Dr. Péter Galambos and their colleagues was to make MaxWhere a visual interface that is easy to interpret and is capable for connecting real-time intelligent cyberphysical systems.

They started to deal with this challenge around 2010, at that time purely as a research topic. It is important to mention that at that period the concept of digital twin was not yet in the public mind, but even then the plan was to organize all the data collected from a physical environment into one virtual space, and to display it, enabling easy processing, and helping users to make quick decisions.

What is digital twin?

Science has been studying digital twins since the beginning of the 2000s. A digital twin is a virtual model of a physical space (building, facility, or even a city) or an equipment that represents a physical process. Digital twin is not a simple physical model, but visualizes the operation, which makes it easier to plan the efficiency and safety of the process. The digital twin enables simulations and training, and if the physical space or device is equipped with the appropriate IoT devices, remote control intervention is also possible.

The first resounding success

The team achieved its first big success at the Pioneers Industry 4.0 hackathon in Linz (12-14.11.2018 Linz, Austria). In the 48-hour competition the team was given the task of creating a digital twin of a logistics package sorting system. The team implemented the full visualization, including the so-called time-travel analysis function, the visualization of raw PLC data, and the display of real-time video streams, which resulted in their victory.

What is the technological uniqueness of MaxWhere?

MaxWhere is based on the natural need of the human brain, i.e. to understand spatial information is more comfortable than the comprehension of abstract 2D data. Operators working with complex information make much fewer mistakes if the data is not displayed and handled in spreadsheets. Users need spatial organization and visual associations for efficient and quick orientation.

With the help of IoT sensors,MaxWhere can display the location of objects, physical properties, process status, metadata, e.g. the current state of an entity.

Go live: the EWG project

The knowledge and technology necessary to create a digital twin were already fully available when the demand arose from the EWG management (following the digital development trends and technological needs of the time) to create a functional virtual twin of the entire terminal. The project was a particularly exciting challenge for the MaxWhere team, as the digitization work progressed in parallel with the construction.

How does MaxWhere serve EWG's operations?

Through its virtual twin platform, MaxWhere serves the operation of the EWG Terminal in three major areas:

  • Facility supervision
  • Training, education
  • Facility efficiency control with retrospective and predictive data processing

Let's see these three areas in detail!

Facility supervision

The performance of MaxWhere is proven by the fact that it is able to integrate completely independent systems in the virtual twin. MaxWhere acts as an operating system and simultaneously it connects different types of data from many sources:

  • visualizes the location of objects (so it also fulfils a yard management role)
  • communicates with an automatic character recognition system (OCR), which can read license plates and vehicle IDs
  • follows the movement of cranes
  • shows the movement of trains
  • monitors the operation of railway safety systems
  • shows the movement of the terminal's own vehicles, loading equipment, external vehicles (e.g. semi-trailer, container)
  • visualizes the position of employees
  • displays the images from the security camera system in virtual space and enables remote control of the cameras using pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) technology

Thanks to all this features, employing fewer and less qualified operators is sufficient. 3D visualization enables a quick and accurate,error-free overview of the area. As a result, employees can work in a less stressful work environment, which is reflected in HR costs, besides the positive financial consequences of operational efficiency.

The system’s other advantages are:

  • automatic notifications based on camera images
  • intrusion detection
  • integration of fire and smoke alarms’ signals
  • monitoring the status of the electrical system,including the backup power supply
  • controlling of the lighting of the entire facility
  • display of the status of gates and barriers
  • visualization of the data of the railway scale system
  • display of the image shown by the traffic control LED displays

All of these can be monitored in a virtual/digital twin, with time-synchronized data storage, and MaxWhere also supports the drawing of predictive and/or retrospective conclusions.

MawWhere for onboarding and training

With the complete mapping of the EWG area, realistic trainings, e. g. onboarding or safety training can be held in MaxWhere. This solution provides quick and thorough training without burdening or endangering the systems and this solution helps to avoid a good number of workplace accidents.

Data collection and analysis

MaxWhere enables the collection of data that permeate all systems, and based on it, retrospective and predictive data analysis using AI and data mining methods are possible. That is, thanks to data analysis, MaxWhere is able to show development opportunities, possible anomalies, and supports the visual representation of future trends. AI-based retrospective analyses, and prediction are tools for increasing efficiency and quality assurance. The continuous and automated data collection also enables the detailed investigation of emergency cases, which is also a serious cost optimization factor in the long term. The outcome of any legal or insurance case can be predicted using a systematic and detailed monitoring. This can save expenses of up to millions of Euros.

Importance of the project

Thanks to the visualization solutions, the efficiency of the EWG terminal will be outstanding: losses resulting from malfunctions can be prevented thanks to quick intervention, and long-term data analysis enable scontinuous optimization. The project has an outstanding impact on the region's labour market and technological development as well. The EWG presents high tech solutions, which significantly increases the technological development of the region. The terminal creates workplaces where employees can use world-class technologies.

In addition, MaxWhere's visualization and IoT integration solutions enable faster, more efficient work and immediate reaction, even with the help of remote control. Since MaxWhere has a video game-like UI, its use can be entrusted to less qualified employees. In addition, 3D visualization has been proven to be less mentally exhausting, which reduces the number of error possibilities. In addition, real-time visualization enables the information to reach the decision-maker quickly, for the rapid intervention. This ensures safer operation.

8
min.
2021-09-21
Project Management

MaxWhere supports business efficiency

MaxWhere Team feels that the slogan The LEANformation Company is a perfect fit because it describes exactly what MaxWhere is capable of as a 3D VR framework. At first glance, this is a platform that displays web content, PDFs, and images in a 3D virtual space for the user to access the information in a much more organized form than the usual 2D solutions and to process it more efficiently. In addition, VR glasses or any other extra device investment are not required. Suppose we get to know it more thoroughly. In that case, the extraordinary efficiency of MaxWhere, which is valid for many use cases, unfolds. In this blog, we review how MaxWhere improves the efficiency of internal company processes, especially project management.

Negative effects of context change

Today, the day-to-day operation of a company requires the parallel use of extensive software. It is essential for decision-makers and project managers to easily see the cause-and-effect relationships to make an optimal decision and to be able to react as soon as possible. This is why the popularity of online collaboration support tools is unbroken. Office efficiency software tries to keep up with the multitasking challenges of process and project management. In this case, multitasking means that dozens of documents and windows must be opened at a given moment for a project. Still in addition, a project manager often must deal with several projects at the same time. For a project manager and the colleagues belonging to the project to complete all tasks on time and with adequate quality, sub-processes must constantly be under control. Even massive amounts of information must be kept in mind or monitored.

Context switching, especially when it comes to switching between apps, leads to a 40% drop in productivity, according to research published in the Harvard Business Review*. This means a loss of around 200 hours per year. Every employee who frequently switches between windows, programs and applications wastes 9% of their time.

In his research, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin**  found that multitasking is so stressful that it also increases our cortisol and adrenaline production. Additionally, suppose we concentrate on several tasks simultaneously, which we do during classic project management work; our IQ can temporarily drop by 10 points.


20% more efficient project management

Research***  proves that up to 20% more efficient company-level efficiency can be achieved by increasing the transparency of work processes. Part of this is choosing software that can make all the documents or application windows necessary for our project visible in one place. Our files and contents must be organized in a transparent workflow To work efficiently. A traditional folder structure can lead to time wastage as it takes much time to retrieve files. So far, it has been argued that a well-organized content structure is necessary if our goal is to store and find information and files. However, the honest answer is a workflow-based organizational structure, which significantly shortens work preparation time, especially if you must work with files that are otherwise stored in different places.

MaxWhere can do it

MaxWhere's inspiring visualization space builds on the brain's ability to organize and focus in a multidimensional way, thus enabling more informed decisions and more effective individual and joint work. All information content can be distributed in a 3D MaxWhere space. As a result, all documents or application windows can be opened and displayed in the order that best facilitates workflow completion. The transparent user interface of MaxWhere supports intelligent, well-organized digital content storage and its integration into a single workflow. This way, users can immediately access their digital content in an intuitive 3D environment that helps memory and orientation. MaxWhere raises the transparency and understanding of processes to a new level in company management and collaboration, thus increasing performance and efficiency.

Customizable project management software

What makes MaxWhere great? It can be used to organize contents into customizable flows and is suitable for displaying many file formats. The contents appear on so-called smartboards and are arranged in a logical order; they can be grouped into projects. Thanks to MaxWhere, users can use the same work tools and software as before, only they are accessed in a virtual space that creates the illusion of physical space and provides your mind with a parallel overview of the processes and thus faster understanding. We have a dedicated space for project management purposes. In the so-called Process space, the elements of the space represent the stations of the workflow. When the user reaches a given point in the workflow, the corresponding part of the space becomes colored and the belonging Smartboard is activated, where the information and/or tasks are available.

Like the drag and drop function of project management software, the order and importance of the content of the tables can be modified in MaxWhere.

During the development of MaxWhere, the most versatile and practical use of the tool was the most important. In this way, we have not created another software that is difficult to learn but an intuitive 3D display environment that makes the everyday use of existing, proven software more efficient and presents its users with a new, smooth user experience.

Among MaxWhere's capabilities, it is worth mentioning a few more that can be particularly useful in complex operational project management tasks:
1. Ability to integrate all online applications.
2. Ability to manage any collaboration software in the same space.
3. Ability to manage all work processes in real-time.
4. The ability to modify/move the view in special ways in 3D
5. Ability to handle 3D objects:
a. Visualization of 3D objects.
b. Presentation of 3D simulations.

The effectiveness of flow-based work organization

MaxWhere helps to display already proven software in a performance- and efficiency-enhancing arrangement. This prevents the employee's attention from being distracted by fragmented software and documents opened in overlapping windows. The spatial visual arrangement tailored to the session makes everyday work at least 20% more efficient. This is especially true for collaboration. Thanks to MaxWhere more effective and faster joint work can be achieved, by bringing colleagues to the same level of understanding, the transfer of information becomes more accurate and precise, and transparency and performance improve by 50%. This opens up new dimensions in sharing information and preparing decisions.

The advantage of 3D spaces in the field of project management

3D objects, if they are arranged in a logical order in space, can create logical connections between 2D contents in seconds. Because the brain has evolved to function naturally in 3D, it can remember better and understand the spatial arrangement of objects more quickly. Thus, the brain can perceive a complex array of information faster in 3D than in 2D. In addition, MaxWhere enables instant 3D access to digital content.

MaxWhere provides enormous advantages over classical approaches regarding user workload, ease of access to novel information, and comprehensibility. Research shows that together these solutions provide a highly efficient way to visualize, share, and process large amounts of information with a low cognitive workload, a powerful tool for understanding, configuring, and managing large-scale networked digital ecosystems.

*https://hbr.org/2022/08/how-much-time-and-energy-do-we-waste-toggling-between-applications

**https://blogs.cfainstitute.org/investor/2019/05/15/daniel-j-levitin-multi-tasking-doesnt-work/

***http://acta.uni-obuda.hu/Horvath_93.pdf