Design EdgeSystems & Tools 10 September 2012 | 10.00am
On the last Friday of August our Melbourne office hosted an event called Design Edge, Design and Digital Innovation exhibition showing the latest digital projects we have been working on. The event was held during our regular Friday night drinks and was completely interactive. There was no formal presentation or guest presenter and Arup staff were able to indulge in some food and drink whilst trying out each exhibit.
The purpose of the event was to share the latest technology Arup is using and to discuss how to apply these technologies to other areas of work. The event was great fun and the exhibits were fascinating and informative. Contributions came from a wide range of disciplines and included:
To display Arup’s use of augmented reality technology our new projects app was put on display. This app is an iPad app that is designed to showcase Arup’s global projects in a location based, interactive and user friendly manner. Arup World gives the user the ability to point out Arup projects in any direction by augmenting the users view with an image of the project. The user can then select a project which gives them access to a wide range of information. The iPad was hooked up to large screen during the event to enhance the augmented reality experience and make the whole exhibit more interactive. Expect it soon in the Apple app store.
3D Scanning and Modelling
While Arup Melbourne does not offer a 3D Scanning service, we believe that it is a technology with many benefits.
I was able to enlist the help of Thomas from VEKTA who kindly demonstrated the capabilities of the technology by coming into our Spring Street office and scanning the Spring Lounge. This space is interesting because of the exposed building services where there the ceiling tiles removed. I thought that it would be good to see how it was possible to capture existing conditions, especially where there is a lack of as-built documentation.
In addition to the 3D scan, VEKTA also modelled some of the services, as well as the room itself, demonstrating the fact that there is a post-processing requirement in 3D scanning, to try and reduce the need to interact with a huge point cloud file. Currently we have used point clouds on a project to establish accurate locations of the facade, existing car park levels & some existing services. While it is an exciting technology, a plan needs to be put in place to get the right areas scanned, and to determine how the point cloud is going to benefit the project the most.
Portable Sound Lab
The Design and Digital Innovation event gave the Acoustics team the opportunity to demonstrate our prototype Mobile SoundLab. The current Mobile SoundLab is a basic set up consisting of; an iPad as a controller, a screen (laptop) to display the graphics and headphones. Future developments will include projected images and portable loudspeakers.
The idea behind the Mobile SoundLab is to give the Acoustics team the ability to provide an interactive and portable aural feedback to clients during the consulting process. The event was a successful trial of the new system. It allowed those who have never been in SoundLab a chance to see why Acoustians really do what we do, while providing a more interactive SoundLab experience for all who tried it out.
There was a small display showcasing our new 3D printer. For the event Andrew Hale, Dean Morris and Elizabeth White looked into the idea of creating an Arup Chess Board. The concept being to print miniature scale models of some iconic Arup buildings in place of the traditional chess pieces. While this is more of a fun side to the use of the 3D printer, the exhibit was more to show how we as a company can use the printer to visualise/back-up our ideas. This may be for the purpose of design competitions or displaying how a connection between elements is possible…the possibilities are huge.
There seemed to be a fair bit of interest around the potential of using the printer from various different groups within Arup.
By the way, there is an interesting connection between chess and the history of Arup!
This exhibit was to demonstrate Virtual Reality (VR) technology that allows a person to be immersed in a digital environment. What we presented was just the beginning; it included a set of video glasses with head-tracking capability; in the future we could combine this with other devices such as Wii and Kinect, which would make it possible to interact with and control the digital space.
I showed several Realtime 3D environments I have developed on projects. They offer the user the opportunity to navigate themselves through a 3D model, viewing from any perspective and interrogating the model and imported data. We have a very strong capability in this field, and are able to very quickly create realtime representations of 3D models as they are being designed. I am always on the lookout for ways to push this technology forward.
Arup is currently developing a number of different tablet and phone applications. This is a fascinating and fast moving area that will not only change the way we work but is also already leading to new and innovative ways to engage with project data. To display how Arup is moving forward in this area we showcased several apps at the Design Edge event.
The Light Box
The lighting team created the Light Box. The theme was of a studio environment, in which visitors were to play the part of lighting designers, set designers and photographers. An assortment of lighting equipment and a range of props were available, and visitors were asked to get in and play, to create a lit scene and take the photo. Ove Arup himself was there and was present in almost all the resulting photos – he looked great wrapped in a scarf and multi-coloured LED light wrap.
Special thanks to Philip Alexander-Pye and the Buildings Design and Digital Innovation group who organised the event.