Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 2012

Attendees: Dave Bleiman, Luis Buenfil, Bruce Madsen, Dan Tsui, Marla Ushijima

Topics of discussion:

Bruce decried the inconsistency of Revit family naming and expressed a wish for an industry standard. He mentioned the standards for plumbing families developed by ATS.

Dan brought up the database he's creating in SQLite (for his girlfriend's recipe collection).

Python was mentioned as an "awesome, easy, fast" database alternative. Luis says that Python integrates into Revit, and provides integration between Revit and several other programs such as Rhino, Vasari, and 3D Studio. It's open source and offers a graphical interface. It can be used as a front-end for creating geometry from a project program; and multi-variable input facilitates analysis and design optimization.

Luis told us about the flying motorcycles and cage match at the AU keynote speech (!). The main talking points at AU, and the evident direction in which Autodesk is investing, is in cloud computing and mobile solutions, such as visualization in the field on a ipad.

Dave brought up Turkey. Ground displacement in the recent earthquake was 3-4 meters. He mentions that the banking system was isolated from the Lehman Bros. disaster and the economy is fairly healthy. There's a nation-wide push for hospital construction, seismic retrofit and base isolation. Mock-ups of O.R.'s are not economically viable; virtual simulation would be a good substitute.

Virtual simulation benefits from development in the gaming industry (since that's where the money is). Game engines can handle the geometry much better than Revit for smooth, fast walk-throughs. Dan describes a work flow of .rvt file > .3ds > Unity game engine (which is free!). Then that can be run on a desktop, laptop, or ipad to glasses with two screens that cover the eyes; and a helmet with a gyroscope that tracks head movement. Dan mentions that an iphone taped to a hat would alternately serve that function. The model moves as the person looks around and up/down. SmartBIM is apparently backing development of visualization using Unity.

Bruce likens Revit walk-throughs to "packing an elephant into a Volkswagon." There needs to be a converter to simplify the geometry and proximity triggers to select alternate levels of detail for quick walk-throughs. He thinks this needs to be done by a person, as it requires a judgement call. There's a lot of ambiguity that's not handled well by computers.

We ended with a discussion debating the value proposition of paying tuition at current rates to get an MBA.

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