Here’s a January and early February news roundup of interesting things going on in the AEC/tech landscape.
Maybe this will turn into a newsletter? I’m playing with the idea of creating this to fill out the more evergreen AEC/tech conversations I publish on the TRXL podcast.
In this edition:
- Arcol begins closed beta
- Apple’s new VR/AR headset to feature ‘Digital Crown’
- Hypar shows off text-to-building AI functionality
- Early-stage start-up Arcol is already rewriting their geometry engine
- EvolveLab launches Veras AI Rendering add-on for Revit
- Microsoft Bing and Edge are now AI-powered
As a closed beta user you’ll get to use and test Arcol while it’s being built, and your feedback will directly influence our roadmap. If you’re interested head over to our site and sign up — we’ll be adding new users every couple of weeks to our closed beta Slack channel.
Interestingly, the Apple Reality One will feature a Digital Crown like the Apple Watch ****(likely much bigger, of course). Users will rotate the crown to switch from VR to AR video pass-through mode. [Michael] Gurman says that the Digital Crown will be a highlight of the product. I suspect that’s because, in the switching (moving the digital crown), the VR display will “fade out and fade in” over the real-world video pass-through imagery.
Hypar shows off what they’ve been working on in the AI-text-prompt-to-building-model space.
What if you could use #AI to generate a whole 3D building model, instead of just 2D images?
What if it was a detailed BIM that you could directly edit, analyze, share with your team, and even export to IFC or bring into Revit?
It’s important to note that is not built on previous works to train the system like everything-else-AI (read: Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, ChatGPT, etc.) that have been flooding the media, which is refreshing due to the ethics and copyright dilemma posed by those noted, among the myriad of others.
Get a free Hypar account and try it for yourself.
It’s always good to fix/change the foundation of your product before you set sail building the forthcoming on top of something that will never get you where you need to go.
In a recent interactive blog post, an engineer at Arcol breaks down the thinking behind the decision to rebuild their non-destructive, parametric geometry engine from scratch.
Occasionally we get asked why we don't just license an existing geometry kernel. The simple answer is that we're building a collaborative, web-first product, and we want to build BIM awareness into the kernel.
But, perhaps the most important reason of all: we think we can do a better job!
Martyn Day, writing for AECMagazine:
The great thing about Veras is that the geometry gives the AI a 3D constraint that is hard to control in 2D AI tools. It won’t change the shape or volume of the building too radically, but it is amazingly quick at changing materials, environment, time of day.
I find this incredibly interesting for the earliest stages of architectural design when all you have is just a simple massing model. The good news: EvolveLab says it’s coming for SketchUp and Rhino too, which is where it really matters for early conceptual ideas much more-so than in Revit.
Find out more about Veras at EvolveLab.
Microsoft has introduced a preview version of their new OpenAI-powered Bing search and their Edge browser to take on Google’s 93% search engine dominance on the web.
The offering is based on a new, next-generation OpenAI large language model that they claim is more powerful than ChatGPT and customized specifically for search. It promises better search, complete answers, and a new interactive chat experience for more complex searches.
The new Bing is available today in a limited preview on desktop, and everyone can visit Bing.com today to try sample queries and sign up for the waitlist. We’re going to scale the preview to millions in the coming weeks. A mobile experience will also be in preview soon.
It’s also worth noting Microsoft is adding their own, ominously named “Prometheus model” to the mix to “leverage OpenAI’s power”. Are they foreshadowing some dark times ahead with all this AI stuff or what?
– Sam Harris