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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:

The use of generative design is gaining momentum in design and construction, even in creating tools used for construction. A student design team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just won the Additive Manufactured Excavator Design competition using generative design to optimize the design process and the use of materials needed to produce the excavator cab. "With just three months to design, prototype and refine their excavator cab design, team members... chose to focus on a design that not only demonstrated the capabilities of digital manufacturing, but also maximized a user's visibility with gridded roofing while reducing both noise and vibration with structural air gaps." A prototype will be 3D printed and on display at IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG at the Tech Experience in Las Vegas in March 2017.

The winning team. What were you doing when you were 20?!  (Source:Engineering.com)

Further in the world of additive manufacturing, a construction company in China has just printed a house purportedly able to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake. The 400-square-meter concrete house was completed in just six weeks, exponentially faster than traditional building methods and with an eye toward sustainability. According to 3DPrint.com, "HuaShang Tengda states that any cement material can be used with the process, so that other construction firms can take advantage of what is locally available." Additionally, the house was printed entirely on-site, paving the way for building fast, inexpensive, eco-friendly, and if the seismic testing is accurate, extremely durable homes.

Fortress or seismically-sound residence? (Source: 3DPrint.com)

Augmented and virtual reality continue to make inroads throughout the design and construction industry. Techonomy recently reported on the many ways virtual technologies will improve life in the real world. In addition to enhancements in education and training, the emergence of AR and VR hardware and software revolutionizes how designs are rendered and interpreted: "...rather than looking at a building design on a 2D screen, users can walk through it as if they were there and experience the different aspects of that design in a high quality visualization. Not only does this let designers better communicate their ideas and intent to clients, it also ensures that buildings better match client expectations and requirements." 

Imaginary buildings are the future. (Source: Techonomy)

Thanks to new FAA regulations, once the design goes from the virtual space to the real world, drone use can now more easily augment the construction process. Construction Dive reports that the newest guidelines reduce the time it takes to get licensed and allow for more leniency in terms of who can operate the drones while simultaneously improving safety standards. "Dick Zhang, CEO of Identified Technologies... said the rules have been 'two years in the making' and further whittle away obstacles to widespread adoption of drone use." In addition to simplifying the process for construction, the report foresees the regulations as a boon to the manufacturing of the drones themselves.

As long as your drone weighs less than 55 pounds (along with a few other regulations...), it's free to roam the friendly skies. (Source: Construction Dive)

Curious about the state of AI – where it is and where it's going? Check out Who Cares Again's informative and entertaining take on the potential for artificial intelligence and how it will affect our everyday lives, for better or for worse. Have a great week!

Like we said, for better or for worse... (Source: YouTube)

Tags: BIM Architecture and Planning Virtual Reality

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