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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:

Has Google done it again? In a world where the term "disruption" has become as commonplace as "lunch," one might find it difficult to keep up. Leave it to Google, possibly the master of disruption, to find yet another technology that may completely overhaul the way we work. Project Tango was not specifically designed with construction in mind, but the system holds great promise for the industry: "Imagine being able to walk to the centre of a room, hold up your smartphone, then turn around. Tango will present a three-dimensional map of the room. Pair that technology with the augmented reality app called Through the Wall and the user would be able to hold up his or her device and be able to see where pipes, electrical wires and ducts are positioned." Such applications are particularly relevant to those of us in the MEP sector, but they also have obvious usefulness in overall BIM implementation. 

The first Tango phones are just being released, and they really are changing the playing field. (Source: Computer World)

The implementation of BIM is on an upward trend, and analysts continue to monitor its benefits and drawbacks throughout the AEC sector. A recent survey outlined in ENRexamined how general contractors, construction managers, and subcontractors utilized BIM processes and the benefits they incurred. "All three players experience similar benefits from improved information mobility. Top benefits include improved collaboration, reduction of unanticipated problems and fewer paper documents." They also reported a reduction in material waste and an overall construction savings of around 5%. While that number may not seem staggering, the survey focused on companies with $50 million or more in annual construction value, making that savings significant, to say the least.

Survey says... BIM saves bucks. (Source: ENR)

One of the most valuable side effects of recent technological advancement has proven to be embracing work-life balance. Gone are the days when "getting ahead" meant spending long evenings at the office. These advancements have also given businesses new ways to work together. Thanks to cloud-based technology, firms and employees are free to reorganize the way they work, allowing for more flexibility and increased collaboration. Line//Shape//Space reports that this collaborative spirit has also made it possible for smaller firms to partner with other firms and tackle larger projects. For example, for Newman Architects in Connecticut, "The advent of cloud-based software tools not only made it easier for Newman to partner with other architecture firms but also transformed the way the firm works internally and with consultants. The technology allows different people to access the same file stored in the cloud and make changes in real time." This real-time capability not only helps eliminate the frustration of having to figure out who made what changes when, but saves time and money by limiting the need for travel between firms.

A 3D rendering of a school by Newman Architects. (Source:Line//Shape//Space)

For anyone living in an American city, homelessness is a growing issue that requires immediate attention. Rising housing costs have displaced millions of Americans, and it's a trend that shows no sign of slowing any time soon. Enter Panoramic Interests, a Bay Area-based company that makes innovative MicroPAD (Prefab Affordable Dwelling) units. The hope is to not only house the city's current homeless population, but get "ahead of the curve" with extra units available as the need arises. While only 160 square feet in size, the units come fully furnished with beds, desks, private bathrooms, and food prep areas. What is unique about the units is their construction. "The MicroPAD™ modules are built in a factory, then delivered to a site where they are stacked like LEGO blocks." While this method still requires more conventional methods for site preparation, foundations, etc., the company claims that a MicroPAD building can be assembled in less than half the time and with 40% to 50% less cost than traditional construction. Find out more about building specifications and Panoramic Interests' mission to house the homeless here.

Houses stacked like LEGOs. (Source: Medium)

Speculation abounds regarding Elon Musk's plan for world domination. If his speech last week at the new Tesla Gigafactory was any indication, he's well on his way (at least to world disruption). According to Musk, the Gigafactory will, at completion, output 150 gigawatts of power. That's enough for Doc Brown to send Marty home almost 124 times! Hear Musk and JB Straubel describe how the new Tesla factory will transform our very notion of "the factory." 

This is where battery packs are assembled inside the truly massive Tesla Gigafactory. (Source: Quartz)

Finally, remember that childhood road trip where you passed the giant chicken? The one that actually sold chicken? Take a look at "23 Buildings that Resemble the Things They Sell," then pack up the kids and hit the road! Have a great week!

Yep, we want to work inside of a giant picnic basket too! (Source: Hyperallergic)

Tags: BIM Architecture and Planning 3d Rendering

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