BMW/Exa-sponsored project at ACCD
by Eric Bauer    13 Aug 2008
Matthew Cunningham (ArtCenter 7th term student) and Eric Bauer checking out Matthew’s final Alias model.. Click for larger images
Gary Shiu (ArtCenter 7th term student) final presentation board.
Julius Bernardo (ArtCenter 7th term student) final presentation board.
Photos: Yichan Chang

Five students (Julius Bernardo, Doug Chang, Matt Cunningham, Alex Ksoll, and Gary Shiu), who in the last days before the final were ahead of the curve, were chosen by their instructors to present their models using RTT USA's augmented reality prototype "RealView". This technology allowed anyone to interact with their final digital Alias models as if they were real physical scale models. Instead of limiting one's appreciation of their design to merely 2D flatwork, or to pre-rendered animations displayed on a large monitor, everyone in attendance was able to walk around the virtual models and see oneself reflected in them. This was truly a unique and innovative way for the students to be able to experience all the hard work they had put into their final models.

Alex Ksoll
Gary Shiu aero test

Finally, unbeknownst to the students, a plan had been hatched to hand pick a small crop of the most promising designs and to continue working with those students after the term's end. This was announced at the final presentation and the lucky few were Cameron Beard, Julius Bernardo, Wei Hsu, Alex Ksoll, Eunjung "Peco" Lee, and Gary Shiu. At the time of writing this article, the aero refinement work is still ongoing. The results are sure to be quite impressive and will be shared first within the two sponsor companies and will then be announced to the public. Paul Stewart said it best when he finished by telling the class of students: "Those of you who've been chosen to participate in this further refinement exercise will be able to officially say that your models will have been aerodynamically tested as the best in class for this vehicle segment."

To Exa, one of the most important outcomes of this novel project was being a key player in the evolution of the design process. Exa's Aerodynamics Manager, Dr. Brad Duncan, commented, "Our goal was to educate these future world-class designers with critical feedback and a basic knowledge of aerodynamics performance of their designs. Now they understand how to maintain their own styling creativity with an eye on design performance.  These young stylists have learned how to deliver beautiful designs that have already achieved basic acceptable aerodynamic performance levels, ready for fine tuning with automotive engineering experts."

Related Article:
BMW/Exa 7th Term Sponsored Project at ACCD