Arkansas Economic Development Commission


"Life-Size" Aircraft Visualization in High Definition 3D

A bold university partnership is creating a path to the future for aviation design and marketing

Technological advances in the aerospace industry are rapidly emerging, including the use of new 3D visualization systems. The industry is a primary exporter from the state of Arkansas, located in the western south central region of the United States.  The key reason? The capital city of Arkansas -- Little Rock -- is home to the Dassault Falcon Completions Center.

Seeing new visualization systems as an economic development resource, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) partnered with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Last year, the university unveiled its new George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center™ (EAC) with a life-size, 3D model of Dassault Falcon’s 7X private jet (see photo below).

The EAC is the “first of its kind in the world,” featuring unique visualization systems to help corporate clients, faculty researchers and students. The EAC has the “first-ever” EmergiFLEX™ and MobileFLEX™ immersive visualization systems developed in partnership with the Mechdyne Corporation.

EAC users wear special “active 3D” goggles to experience walking through a jet and stepping into the passenger cabin. The system provides 50 million pixels of full-color high definition resolution, offering astonishing detail -- even showing the weave of the cloth used in the passenger seats.  The 35-foot-long screens give customers, design engineers and marketing teams a major new resource in Arkansas. “The large, 3D visualization system at UALR has been an important tool for our engineering team in Little Rock,” said Antoine Ajarrista, senior vice president and general manager of Dassault Falcon Completions Center, which is located near the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Governor Beebe simplifies the description of the EAC by saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Grant Tennille, also stresses the economic impact of the new center.

“The EAC not only models aircraft for Dassault,” said Tennille. “We can take developers on virtual site tours via Google Earth to show Arkansas industrial mega sites available for future industrial projects. The uses of the technology to help market and sell anything is truly remarkable.” 

The visionary behind the EAC is the internationally recognized scientist, Dr. Mary L. Good. Dr. Good was the former under secretary for technology for the Technology Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce and serves as special advisor to the UALR Chancellor for Economic Development. She is also founding dean of the UALR College of Engineering & Information Technology, former president of the American Chemical Society and senior vice President for Allied Signal (now Honeywell International).

“To stay competitive, companies must use the newest technologies available while also hiring top new graduates in emerging, future-focused fields,” said Dr. Good. “The EAC offers services to corporations while also providing research faculty and students access to cutting-edge data analytic and data visualization tools.”

The university’s commitment goes beyond just the newest technology. UALR has added Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira as the new director of the EAC. Dr. Cruz-Neira is recognized internationally as the original co-inventor of the CAVE™ (Computer Automatic Virtual Environment) and has received the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award for her development of the technology. She is also the recipient of Boeing’s A.D. Welliver Award and her team recently won the Fourth Annual Sikorsky Innovations Entrepreneurial Challenge. Her expertise in using virtual reality for corporate applications and advanced research further prepares UALR to lead the world in this area.

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