Posts tagged with "TECH+ Expo":

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A tiny start-up partners with Peterbilt to roll out self-driving big rigs

As of 2015, over 70 percent of all freight transported in the U.S. was moved by truck. That represents a whopping $726 billion in gross revenues from trucking alone, and each year, trucks haul everything from consumer goods to livestock over billions of miles in the United States. All of those numbers are growing—so much so, that according to the American Trucking Associations, the industry is running into a major driver shortage. Long hours, days away from home, and the stress of driving 80,000 pounds at 70 miles per hour is not for everyone, but one company is hoping to make the task easier through automation. Embark, a small startup based in Silicon Valley, is led by a number of engineering school dropouts. Its goal is to develop affordable semi-autonomous semis using neural-net–based deep learning technology. By developing hardware that can be fitted onto existing truck models, and software that learns as it goes, Embark has quickly and cheaply developed some of the most promising autonomous vehicles in the world. “Analyzing terabyte upon terabyte of real-world data, Embark’s DNNs have learned how to see through glare, fog, and darkness on their own,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO and co-founder of Embark, in a statement that coincided with the introduction of the technology this spring. “We’ve programmed them with a set of rules to help safely navigate most situations, safely learn from the unexpected, and how to apply that experience to new situations going forward.” Rather than try to replace drivers, or redesign the trucks or roads, Embark is focusing on working with what already exists. Collaborating with Texas-based truck manufacturer Peterbilt, Embark is retrofitting the popular 579 semi models with sensors cameras and computers that can read existing roads and take over driving tasks from long-haul drivers. When the trucks must navigate more complex urban settings, the human driver takes back command. This focus on solving the open-road problem, instead of the entire range of driving situations, has streamlined the development process. Currently Embark is one of only three companies permitted to test autonomous 18-wheeler semis on the highways of Nevada (the other two companies being Freightliner and Uber). With the Peterbilt collaboration and a recent announcement of $15 million in additional financing, Embark has become one of the leaders in the race to automate transportation. While Google, Tesla, and a slew of other car companies target the finicky consumer market, Embark has its sights squarely on a market struggling to keep up with demand. With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, and billions of pounds of freight being moved, it seems only likely that it will be the self-driving truck, not sports car, that we will be seeing on the road sooner rather than later.  
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How will autonomous vehicles change the way architects think about cities?

City planning operates on decades-long cycles, while infrastructure is typically built out using forecasts that extend current trends. If self-driving vehicles are poised to deliver the revolution in urban transportation that Silicon Valley has been promising, how should urban infrastructure accommodate them? With less parking spots needed, how can designers effectively reclaim this urban space? Anticipating the Driverless City, a recent conference hosted by the AIA New York (AIANY), brought together Uber executives, planners, architects, and policymakers in pursuit of a holistic approach to adapting to life with autonomous vehicles. Speakers acknowledged the same general themes over and over again, despite their differing backgrounds. With self-driving cars possibly arriving in New York City by early 2018 and real-world tests already happening in other cities, one of the most discussed topics was the need to plan for an autonomous future as soon as possible. Nico Larco, co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, stressed that "planners think in 30-year increments, and autonomous vehicles are already hitting the streets today. Urban planners should be terrified." Autonomous vehicles will touch on every facet of urban life, from water management through the reduction of impermeable roads, to electrical grid infrastructure, and drastically reshape the economy. Larco, and many others throughout the event spoke of the need for government to begin working with planners and policymakers to redesign cities from the ground-up. Leaning on a "people, places, policy" framework is a good starting point, as architects and planners can strategize about how autonomous vehicles could possibly affect each of the three. Sam Schwartz, former NYC Traffic Commissioner and founder of transit planning firm Sam Schwartz Engineering, described how a future society with self-driving cars could tilt towards "good," "bad," or "ugly" outcomes. The ideal scenario would be one where the use of autonomous vehicles has encouraged mass transportation use, acting to move commuters to and from high-capacity transit corridors. Because self-driving cars can pack tighter and don’t need to park, streets would be narrowed and the extra space converted to public parkland. Conversely, in a world where autonomous vehicles are owned only by individuals, pedestrians might be walled off from the street, and our roads might be more packed than ever. According to Jeff Tumlin, principal and director of strategy at Nelson/Nygaard, the way we think about self-driving cars directly stems from concepts first presented at the 1939 World’s Fair. Nearly 80 years later, architects and planners wanting to design for a future with self-driving cars, busses, and trains, will need to go beyond simply extending our current car culture.
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AN recaps the inaugural Tech+ expo in New York

"If you took GPS out of people's phones now, they would die." That was the bold claim Google's Aaron Luber made at the inaugural Tech+ expo today. Hyperbole? Maybe, but Luber made the point of how dependent we are on technology to navigate the built environment. Moreover, how else does technology impact our surroundings?  Presented by The Architect's Newspaper, the inaugural Tech+ expo saw 500 architects, designers, and tech experts head to Metropolitan West to get the low-down on how technology is shaping the built environment. The day was shaped by industry professionals discussing and showcasing technology that is developing a role within the design process of numerous firms and enhancing client-architecture relationships. Luber estimated that by 2018 almost all Android-based cell phones will be running software called "Tango." This software, he explained, when used with another software package called "Trimble," allows GPS to work in-sync with programs such as AutoCAD to allow clients to view their projects live on-site. Luber called this a "visual positioning service," which, for all intents and purposes, was an augmented reality machine. As for virtual reality, however, a host of VR firms, including Iris VR, Insite, and NVIDIA was present at Tech+ with their stalls showcasing their latest products. VR has, for a while now, been used to enhance the client-architect relationship through walk-throughs and other demonstrations. Despite confessing to being trained in "analog fashion," Keynote speaker Hao Ko of Gensler said: "Maybe the days of drawing plans and sections are gone now, we don't need 2D drawings anymore." Technology, he went on, has enabled us to present more coherent representations to clients. Before architects had to make physical models to enhance the experience, and these models were made at larger and larger scales—something Eero Saarinen was very familiar with, as Ko displayed a picture of the Finnish-American architect's legs sticking out of a model of the TWA terminal. Plans and models, though, can work together too. Graphisoft demonstrated how its software amalgamates section and plan drawings into 3D models, allowing both architects and clients to read what they see at the same time. Using ArchiCAD and exporting to Graphisoft, architects can also share 3D models with those using iPhone's too. Likewise, LERA demonstrated that tuning off layers can reveal construction sequences, among other things. What to take from all this? Ko summed the event up in his keynote: "To make the most of the future, we have to live in it," he said, before going on to describe the NVIDIA California office complex designed by Gensler. "Technology does not wait, and neither should architects."
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See who's coming to the inaugural TECH+ expo

A wave of new technologies is transforming the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. On May 23, The Architect’s Newspaper will host the first trade expo and forum to investigate this convergence: TECH+. Taking place during NYCxDesign month, New York’s official citywide celebration of design, the conference incorporates visionary speakers, engaging panels, live demos, and product displays from leaders in emerging fields like virtual reality, smart buildings, parametrics, advanced materials, drones and robotics, AEC Software, and mobile apps.

Architects, engineers, designers, builders, real-estate professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, software developers, students, and makers will converge at Metropolitan West in New York—the center of one of America’s fastest growing tech markets—to discover innovations, come across start-ups, meet top experts, and build connections. A conference addressing new architectural technologies is both needed and timely, spurring new ideas, cross-pollination, and innovation.

Who'll be there? These are just a few of the companies.

Chaos Group Chaos Group is a worldwide leader in computer graphics, helping artists and designers create photoreal imagery and animation for design, television, and feature films. Software like V-Ray, Phoenix FD, and VRscans dominate the fields of creative storytelling and digital design. Chaos Group founder Vladimir Yoylabov received a 2017 Academy Awards plaque for V-Ray’s role in bringing CGI to feature films. At TECH+, Chaos Group will be showcasing its technologies for the AEC industry, particularly its newest VR capabilities. Graphisoft Graphisoft ignited the BIM revolution in 1984 with ARCHICAD, the industry’s first BIM software for architects. The company continues to lead the industry with innovative solutions like BIMcloud, the world’s first real-time BIM collaboration environment, and coDesigner, the world’s first fully BIM-integrated green-design solution. At TECH+, Graphisoft will showcase BIMx, the world’s leading mobile app for BIM visualization on computers, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and Google Cardboard. Part of the Nemetschek Group, Graphisoftoffers valuable learning tools like online seminars, tests, books, training videos, and in-person training. Sister companies in the Nemetschek group include Bluebeam, Vectorworks, Allplan, Nevaris, and several more.

Humanscale Humanscale is the leading designer and manufacturer of ergonomic products that improve health and comfort at work and beyond. At TECH+ it will show off OfficeIQ, its newest innovation, which integrates computer software into ergonomic design, transforming traditional offices into active, intelligent workspaces that help users make healthier decisions. More products include seating, sit-stand desks, keyboard systems, and lighting. Humanscale’s ergonomic consulting services—used for more than 2,000organizations since 2008—help organizations develop and implement comprehensive, cost-effective ergonomics programs.

InsiteVR InsiteVR is a platform for AEC companies to create and manage virtual reality presentations across their offices. InsiteVR’s tools allow users to remotely control VR presentations, collect feedback from clients, and easily share to mobile headsets like the GearVR. The company provides virtual reality experiences in seconds with models from Sketchup, Blender, Rhino, Revit, or any other 3-D modeling. At TECH+, Insite VR will showcase Analytics, a new feature in which virtual reality walkthroughs can be replayed and analyzed to learn more about user behavior in a space. Its heat map functionality provides additional data on the distribution of users’ attention while going through a virtual representation of the space.

IrisVR Iris VR offers intuitive virtual-reality software for the AEC industry that works seamlessly with existing 3-D software. Offerings like Prospect (for explorable VR) and Scope (for 360-degree panoramas) give you a true sense of depth and space before anything has been built. Architects and builders like Ennead, SHoP, HMC, and Corgan have quickly generated realistic virtual environments to aid with their design process and client communications. At TECH+, IrisVR will be showcasing its new experiences for Prospect, providing the ability to have multiple users within the same virtual-reality model, with real-time audio and visual feedback.

Iron-Horse Systems Iron-Horse Systems is a full-service certified distributor of IoT systems for lighting control. The company provides sensor layouts and network design along with the programming and maintenance services necessary to tie the specified lighting system into the end user’s IoT or BMS platform. This ensures a complete, reliable system from design through completion. At TECH+, Iron Horse will be showcasing several of its IoT solutions for smart buildings.

Microsol Resources A leader in BIM technology solutions, as well as an Autodesk platinum partner, Microsol Resources has been a reseller of engineering and architecture software—such as V-Ray, Bluebeam, and Rhino—since 1986. Microsol specializes in building and civil infrastructure software, but its suite of offerings also includes training, certification, and product support. The company helps innovative clients get the most out of their designs and technology investments through installation, activation, and continued follow-up. The firm services big offices like Bjarke Ingels Group, David Adjaye Associates, Rafael Viñoly, and KPF, as well as start-ups and sole proprietors. Microsol’s annual TechPerspectives conference, launched in 2013, focuses on the most exciting technologies driving change in the design and construction industries. The conference showcases industry leaders and innovative technologies including BIM, 3-D printing, virtual reality, digital design and fabrication, and more. The event has taken place in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. This year’s TechPerspectives will be held at TECH+.

Nvidia Nvidia designs graphics processing units (GPU) for the gaming market, as well as system-on-a-chip units for the mobile computing and automotive markets. Nvidia’s invention of the GPU in 1999 sparked the growth of the PC gaming market, redefined modern computer graphics, and revolutionized parallel computing. More recently, GPU deep learning ignited modern AI—the next era of computing—with the GPU acting as the brain of computers, robots, and self-driving cars that can perceive and understand the world. Nvidia is working with Gensler to realize their new headquarters in Santa Clara. At TECH+ Gensler principal Hao Ko will be speaking about Gensler’s close collaboration with the company to visualize the project in VR through the Nvidia’s Iray rendering engine.

Panzura Panzura, founded in 2008 by a team of engineers with experience at the country’s top IT companies, specializes in cloud-based storage and file-protection products. The company’s infrastructure leverages superfast, high-performance, secure Internet technology to create an interconnected, unified global file system—regardless of physical location. With Panzura’s patented global file locking technology, BIM and CAD users across the world can work together like they’re in the same room. This capability reduces application and file-open and -sync time for distributed users from 20 or 30 minutes to just seconds. At TECH+, Panzura will be showcasing Freedom Collaboration, which provides cloud convenience, security, and communication with LAN speed and performance.

PlanGrid PlanGrid is construction software made for the field that allows plans and mark-ups to be instantaneously shared with everyone on a project, no matter where they are. It lets contractors, architects, and building owners collaborate from their desktops or mobile devices across all of their project plans, specs, photos, RFIs, and punch lists. Today, the company stores over 50 million blueprints, making it the largest digital blueprint repository in the world—translating into over $85 million saved on paper and printing. At TECH+, PlanGrid will share how the company is leading the industry’s digitization and transformation to the cloud by arming construction workers with the best productivity tools. Over 500,000 projects have used PlanGrid to finish on time and under budget.

Voodoo Manufacturing Voodoo Manufacturing, located in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, operates the 3-D printing factory of the future, helping companies and individuals bridge the gap between their first prototype and their first high-volume production run. In addition to 3-D printing, Voodoo offers high-tech materials and advanced post-processing, helping produce objects for architecture and engineering as well as marketing, entertainment, fashion, hardware manufacturing, and consumer products. At TECH+, Voodoo cofounder Jonathan Schwartz will discuss the future of digital manufacturing and what it means for people making physical products.

Walter P Moore Walter P Moore is an international company of engineers and innovators who solve some of the world’s most complex structural and infrastructural challenges. Focusing on structure, diagnostics, and technology, the firm works in almost 20 market sectors, from aviation to stadiums to tall buildings. At TECH+, the company will be presenting its work in VR, which has helped it open doors to unique methods of collaboration. The company will show off its proprietary tools developed for the Unity platform, helping clients understand spaces, compare facade details, check visibility of signage, and detect model clashes. The firm’s tailored approach allows it to collaborate with clients to add new customized content to any build.

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Tech+ expo: The future of the built environment is here

NYCxDESIGN kicks off this week, and our first ever Tech+ Expo will be part of it. Check us out on May 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 639 West 46th St. For more information visit techplusexpo.com.

A wave of new technologies is transforming the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. On May 23, The Architect’s Newspaper will host the first trade expo and forum to investigate this convergence: TECH+. Taking place during NYCxDesign month, New York’s official citywide celebration of design, the conference incorporates visionary speakers, engaging panels, live demos, and product displays from leaders in emerging fields like virtual reality, smart buildings, parametrics, advanced materials, drones and robotics, AEC Software, and mobile apps.

Architects, engineers, designers, builders, real-estate professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, software developers, students, and makers will converge at Metropolitan West in New York—the center of one of America’s fastest growing tech markets—to discover innovations, come across start-ups, meet top experts, and build connections. A conference addressing new architectural technologies is both needed and timely, spurring new ideas, cross-pollination, and innovation.

“We see TECH+ as the place where technology companies and the AEC industry converge,” said The Architect’s Newspaper publisher Diana Darling. “We want to share what’s happening and start pulling people together. These fields are developing quickly, and people are eager to build a community.”

Over the past six years, AN has hosted 26 events for Facades+, a series of conferences taking place in cities around the country focusing on the future of building envelopes. TECH+ will build on that series’ success by teaming up with Microsol Resources TechPerspectives conference to host a full day of inspired presentations on the Innovation Stage.

Presenters at TECH+ will include keynote speaker Hao Ko, a Gensler principal who helped mastermind the Nvidia headquarters building in Santa Clara, California, and the Mercedes-Benz headquarters building in Atlanta; Kerenza Harris, leader of Morphosis Architects’ advanced technology team; and leaders of innovative companies like Graphisoft, Humanscale, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), FXFowle, Thornton Tomasetti, and more.

Panels will discuss, among other topics, start-up technology investment, workplace design, digital printing and fabrication, virtual-reality environments, and on-site drone footage. More than a dozen exhibitors hail from around the AEC industry, in fields like BIM (building information modeling) software, virtual reality (VR), 3-D printing, engineering, and computer graphics. The conference will also showcase know-how from some of the city’s top tech incubators and research from cutting-edge technology programs at design schools like Columbia GSAPP, Parsons, MIT DesignX, and Pratt.

TECH+ is a new type of conference,” said Darling. “We’re focusing on completely new ideas and techniques, and gauging where the future of the AEC will be and how we get there.”

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How R/GA is designing the office of the future

Walk around R/GA's (formerly R/Greenberg Associates) New York office and it's tough not to be wooed by the tech running the show. Despite this, however, the environment is decidedly democratic rather than technocratic. Spread across the 11th and 12th floors of 450 West 33rd Street, R/GA's New York HQ sits within 200,000 square feet of office space. The term "office space" is more appropriate than "offices" because the latter implies a series of segmented workplace zones, typically walled or cordoned. With R/GA, office furniture has wheels to move around the open plan found on the 12th floor, which is also the entry level. "I didn't see any difference between an architecture firm and a law firm," said founder and CEO of R/GA Bob Greenberg, speaking in a Gary Hustwit-made documentary about his firm. He wanted to create an environment "where the digital landscape would integrate with physical space." And now Greenberg has 450 West 33rd Street: a former brutalist block, designed by Davis Brody Bond in 1969 that has been re-skinned by Joshua Prince-Ramus (REX) and gutted on R/GA's two floors by Foster + Partners. On the 12th floor, conference "rooms" have no walls. Instead, they're round tables (with wheels, of course) wired up to hidden power outlets and surrounded by high chairs. Zones are denoted by color, letters, and numbers. It feels a bit like moving around an airport, though Greenberg's collection of art, transit, and technological nostalgia make useful wayfinding devices. Screens display product and marketing information and welcome messages for visitors. Everything is modular—even the floor can be taken up. The system works through a Unistrut canopy from which all manner of devices—such as the aforementioned sensors—hang from. The blockbuster feature, however, is that everything can be controlled by an app. Conference "rooms" can be booked, lights changed, art can be identified (just point your camera at it), and audio of the video being played on screens can be easily accessed. A geolocation service—using sensors dotted around the space—also runs at a granular scale to aid navigation. R/GA's aim is for a fluid, versatile and connected environment. Though still being refined, they developed this beta office model for themselves and deliver it as a tailored product primed for startups. In fact, R/GA supplies a tech-based incubator for blossoming firms looking for guidance, direction and of course, funding. Daniel Diez is R/GA's executive vice president and global chief marketing officer. He works closely with managing directors and senior leadership across all R/GA offices, leading marketing and communications strategies and thus he has a hand in all R/GA's projects. Diez will be speaking about R/GA's work at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Tech+ conference. The event will be at Metropolitan West on 639 West 46th Street in Manhattan on May 23. To register and find out more, visit techplusexpo.com.