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Hello, everyone.  Time for our weekly roundup of articles at the intersection of BIM; artificial intelligence; and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.  Here goes: 

Have you ever wanted to see like Predator? The guys at Gizmodo do, and they got the chance with a preview of Caterpillar's new Cat S60 smartphone with FLIR thermal imaging technology built right in. Granted, it's not meant for the general population, but since two of its primary applications relate to plumbing and wiring, we in the MEP field think we just may be able to get our hands on one: "If you are at the scene of a car accident, you can use the FLIR camera to 'see' through the smoke and locate wounded bodies. If you work with wires and electricity, locating hot and overheated areas is also pretty simple once you learn the basics of using the device. If you are a plumber, you can see where the heated water is leaking, or where an underground heating system is blocked." Sounds nearly as useful as it would be just plain fun! 

I seeeee you! (Source: Gizmodo)

And if a phone with Predator vision doesn't make the entire construction industry instantly more cool, perhaps a dose of virtual reality (VR) will do the trick. Wired got a look at a new David Attenborough documentary that uses VR technology to put the documentarian right alongside what appears to be a "real" titanosaur. The viewer can -- through a VR headset or even by just clicking and dragging in their browser -- look around the entire dinosaur and not just at Attenborough. But the author sees possibilities beyond just a cool dinosaur show: "VR will also take you to impossible places. You might manipulate a computer-generated cell, or take a trip through the human body, a la  The Magic School Bus. And the prohibitively enormous, like a trip across the cosmos, will be a cinch." If the cosmos is a cinch, then certainly inspecting a site on the other side of the globe or moving through the duct work of a building across town would really be a piece of cake. 

VR is, in fact, making waves in everything from documentary to construction to film. Several films using virtual reality technology made big waves at last month's Sundance Film Festival. The Verge contributor Adi Robinson outlines her experience with the tech-heavy filmmaking with everything from her personal favorites to those she thinks we should all experience right now. While her piece focuses on the individual submissions as films, the vast array of varying VR systems and methods are employed to make them underscore the tech's versatility across multiple applications. While Waves may have been "a pleasantly bizarre combination of sci-fi pastiche and guided meditation," the science behind it could also be used to "guide" safety orientations within a virtual construction site. 

Remember that Chemical Brothers video from a few weeks back? The one with the dancer slowly morphing into a 3D-printed version of herself? We found the "Making Of" video and must say, it's just about as cool as the final product! 

Wait... what? (Source: FXguide)

Tags: Artificial Intelligence Architecture and Planning Virtual Reality

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