Tuesday, August 30, 2016

LIDAR Data in BIM Projects

LIDAR is the use of light instead of radio waves for radar applications. I’ve always just thought of it as “Laser-Radar” but some claim it stands for Light Detection and Ranging. LIDAR technology is quickly being developed for architectural applications. The big leap for the technology was reducing the difficulties of getting the spacial data into the model. BIM software is complex enough and architectural and engineering firms shouldn’t be fighting to post-process the spacial data when there is so much design and building to be done. They just want it there in the model to work with. REVIT’s point cloud system – while being far from simple – can be used with just a few clicks. The linked article highlights two main benefits of using LIDAR data in BIM design projects in the context of a UK-based renovation in a conservation area:

Firstly, old surveying techniques actually produce quite spare data sets when compared to the resolution of LIDAR scans. This increased resolution drives higher accuracy when responding to site conditions and constraints during the design process. A second benefit recognized in the article is the ability with the LIDAR data to align background images of the site within the model accurately for interior or exterior perspectives . I’m less enthused about this one; but only because digital renderings are not my passion. On the other hand, I’m always welcoming of ideas that can be applied to streamline BIM workflows. And here there is evidence BIM has slowly lowered the bar for digital  renderings: the alignment of site images with renderings, once a highly technical affair, is now automatic.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Brick Laying 3D Printing Robot For Architecture

It seems like the doldrums of summer have hit my news feed with very little in the way of architectural 3D printing news being released this week. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the most interesting robot video of the week comes from Australia, where it’s winter. The attached mesmerizing video is of the Fastbrick Robotics’ Hadrian 105 robot at work. Many assume 3D printing necessitates materials emerging from a nozzle but this is not the case. I guess there is an argument to be made the topic should be reframed as “construction robotics” but in this case the software used is directly related to architecture. I’ve written elsewhere that the development of quality software played an important role in the spread of architectural 3D printing. Here the Hadrian robot interprets already existing plugins for Solidworks 3D – a program I’ve used in the past to design of models for 3D printing – to calculate out the brick laying pattern. Mike Pivac, CEO, has this to say about the company’s expectation for the technology: “Fastbrick Robotics aims to make improvements in the areas of speed, accuracy, safety and waste” . I can’t blame him for wanting to get into the brick laying market; the brick laying market is worth a staggering $12 bil. globally.