AEC Hackathon NYC Recap

Ever since I joined the construction industry, I always had the opinion that construction over every industry has some of the most real and good people on the planet. I do not know why I think that, but this weekend only strengthened that opinion. I had the greatest time this weekend hanging out with industry professionals and let me tell you, we did the coolest things!

Project Tango
Using Google’s 3D scanning technology, these two gentlemen were able to create the coolest point cloud with a device that costs next to nothing compared to traditional point cloud scanners.

Team Punchbot
The fellas at Roger’s O’brien Construction teamed up with FieldLens to build a robot that can walk around the jobsite to create and modify punchlist items.  This was unreal: an engineer in an office can take control of this robot from his/her phone, drive it over to a punchlist item, snap a photo, and create a issue in FieldLens.  That’s only the tip of the iceberg for this robo-constructor…

Revit to Google Cardboard
The folks at Thornton Tomasetti’s CORE Studio always seem to amaze me. Teamed up with Case Inc., the team developed the ability to view and select items in a Revit model using Google Cardboard.  What?  Wow..

My buddy Mike came to the Hackathon not knowing anything about construction, he teamed up with a few of the CORE guys and built a Ruby on Rails app around the vA3C library. The tech here is really unreal. To make this simple, they built a web accessible interface to view a revit model in the browser, make annotations onine, and send the comments back to the model in nearly real time. Rails app is on GitHub:

Newforma showed up looking for a problem to solve. We gave them one: scheduling. During the beginning of the weekend we started talking about what would really help the industry. Everyday construction Superintendents walk their jobsite, record notes, and go back to their office to update their schedule. In 1929, Starret Brother and Eken started building arguable the greatest sky scraper on the planet; the Empire State building. Their construction process is still to this day unrivaled by any other and they used a very exact method of scheduling which today is known as linear scheduling or flowline scheduling. Our team developed an iphone and web-based app to view and edit your master schedule on a daily basis. You can see which tasks are ahead and which are behind giving the superintendent complete ability to have the most efficient work plan. Managing this correctly should save every person on the project site at least 15 minutes per day.

Other Notes
I almost for got to mention Amir’s amazing plugin for Navisworks which exports a Navisworks model to the vA3C JSON format.  I will post this when it becomes available.

Autodesk was also present bringing a great presentation on the Autodesk View & Data API which can be discovered here:

Finally, I need to mention the super awesome 3D models that the Futuristas built using MineCraft.  This organization deserves a round of applause for the work they are participating in.  I hope that one day, my children will be able to join and learn to love technology and science as I do.

Bringing it all together

So to bring it all into perspective, this elite group of AEC Technologists were able to basically develop software to efficiently manage the construction process with modern day technology. In the future, an AEC team should be able to create a well-thought out model in revit from an existing point cloud with Project Tango. Export it to dunit, view and annotate it in cardboard through dunit. Track the schedule with Sub Schedule and send the punchbot to track and verify quality in the field.  Life does not get much easier than that!

More info and pictures can be viewed on twitter #AECHackathon or on the AEC Hackathon website.  Here is the official video for presentations and awards:


Published by iphoenix72

Matthew M. Emma was born in New York, NY where he currently resides after receiving his degree in Building Construction and Real Estate Development from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. Matt loves everything web related including PHP and WordPress! Featured in ENR for developing a construction program based on WordPress during the renovation of the new Madison Square Garden (Even featured in several of the Transforamtion show episodes). Let’s go Rangers!

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