The now ubiquitous iPad, as we have blogged about before, is starting to show up as a tool on construction sites. New tools developed by Vela Systems allow users to upload BIM files to the cloud and access the BIM information using the iPad while on site. Another plug in developed by Vela Systems allows content created in the field (such as field notes and observations) using the iPad to be integrated into the source BIM model in the cloud. The tools allow users to jump between the model and installed equipment. These tools should increase the flow of accurate information to the construction site.
A $1 billion city without residents is to be built in southeastern New Mexico to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems to next-generation wireless networks. The “ghost” city will have all of the infrastructure that a normal city would have; including highways, houses, and commercial buildings. There will be no residents, and researchers will be able to test new technologies in the empty city against real infrastructure without worrying about bothering real people. Pegasus Holdings and its New Mexico subsidiary CITE Development selected Hobbs, NM as the site for this ghost town and said that the city will be modeled after Rock Hill, SC.
Out of Denmark we have more news in green construction: Danish architects built an experimental house using just a computer, a printer, and 820 sheets of plywood. First, a 3D model was created and translated into a manufacturing template which was then sent to a computerized milling machine (the “printer”) that cuts the pieces of plywood. The home was built as part of a project intended to experiment with mass-customizing houses in an efficient manner with minimal environmental impact. Some of the environmentally friendly features of the house include the fact that the project uses no concrete, wood is the only wall material used with the exception of glass windows, only a small amount of steel is used, and the structure only touches the ground at the screw pile foundations. This manner of producing homes is attractive due to the transportability of the digital techniques. As long as the raw materials are available, the digital file could be delivered to an area and homes could be produced rather quickly, which might come in handy to a region that has been struck by natural disaster.
“It’s alive, it’s ALIVE.” No, we’re not talking about Frankenstein monsters. We’re talking about the possible next generation of buildings. The SmartPlanet blog recently ran a piece on the future life of buildings and how these buildings will be loaded with sensors that automatically adjust to the environment around them. The Media-ITC building will use “a nitrogen based fog and smart temperature sensors that collect information about the outside environment." The sensors will cause cushions to "adjust, inflate, deflate, and become opaque.” These sensors are only part of a network that monitors the entire building, making it function like it has a living skin. This particular building is only one of many new designs using cutting-edge technology and construction techniques to bring buildings into a modern urban environment.