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

3D printing was the star of this week's headlines, beginning with Italian company WASP and their ambitious plan to build an entire village out of 3D-printed parts. Their intention is to create a community that is highly livable as well as eco-friendly and energy efficient. "The village will feature vertical vegetable gardens and a laboratory where a desktop printer will make furniture, biomedical products, jewelry and ceramics." It's a true test of not just the technology, but of the feasibility and durability of buildings composed of printed parts.

Big Delta is the world's largest 3D printer. WASP built this 40-foot machine in order to build houses as quickly as possible. (Source: Construction Dive)

Autodesk also sees the potential for 3D-printed construction materials and has announced Project Escher, its newest research exploring the applications of the burgeoning technology. Escher uses multiple "bots" that work together to create objects in one continuous piece. "Autodesk... is targeting its solution toward industries like aerospace, automotive and construction that need to print large items quickly." As is the case with many new forms of building technology, both companies see their methods as especially applicable to disaster zones and areas where resources are scarce.

Autodesk's Project Escher uses an assembly line of 3D printers that work collaboratively to create one large object. (Source: Make Zine)

Gamers the world over are rejoicing this week after the much-anticipated release of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality system. It has, thus far, been met with mixed reviews, such as the one released in The New York Times. Most, however, are focused on the system for its gaming functions rather than its real-world applications. The general consensus is that its graphics and simulation of reality are superior: "While the system's setup is somewhat complex, the smoothness of the graphics and the high-quality design of the headgear make virtual reality feel ready for prime time." Ready, it seems, for that walk through a building that doesn't yet exist.

Oculus Rift, a new foray into virtual reality for the masses, makes virtual reality a... reality. (Source: The New York Times)

The adoption of all of these technologies, however, remains contingent on an industry famously resistant to change being willing to step out of the proverbial box. Analysts at Sourceable point out, "The challenge is that the industry is so conservative and risk-averse – they need to really see how it works. In the construction sector we still use the brick, and that was invented about 5,000 years ago – that's the rate of change in the industry." It's time for construction execs to play with some drones and don some headsets before tech giants decide to make the sector their next playground.

The rate of change in the construction industry is painfully slow. Where are the VR headsets and drones already?! (Source: Sourceable)

Now that Google's DeepMind team has proven their system's mettle against the world Go champion, could poker be next? A recent paper from UCL Researcherssuggests so. They posit that training an AI system to work through the unique challenges of poker, namely the "imperfect information" involved in not knowing what other cards are on the table or the psychology of the other players "is an important problem to address as most real-world applications do require decision making with imperfect information." And no one understands imperfect information better than those of us navigating the AEC landscape.

Poker would be a whole other level of game playing for Google's DeepMind. (Source: The Guardian)

For some Wednesday giggles, check out this clip of a recent Porsche Carrera Cup championship. If you must crash a Porsche, this is as good a way as any! See you next week.

Watch the video to find out how this crazy pile up happened! (Source: GT Spirit)

Tags: Architecture and Planning Virtual Reality 3d Printing

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