SYSTEMS 2000 Hosts Technology Panoply
For any architect who struggles through dry structural calculations or dreads the complexity of conventional analysis software, relief is here. Dr. Software offers a unique combination of analytical thoroughness with a direct user interface and real-time, graphic feedback. Load the frame and watch it deflect: a visual solution for designers. Modules for beam, 2D frame, and 3D frame analysis are available for Windows and Macintosh.
Speedier Team Communications
Setting itself apart from Web-based project extranets was the new EZ, from Sigma Design International, makers of Arris. EZ is real-time conferencing software that can be used on computers connected to a local-area network or linked by the Internet. With a simple interface, users can mark up a variety of file types and see each others' markups in real time. The technology is feasible even for those with slow dial-up connections because only the changes, not the original files, are transferred during the conference.
Ideal Scanners & Systems, provider of large-format digital imaging systems, has announced Digital Container, which gives remote team members on any platform access to centralized digital drawings. The Digital Container is a secure "vault" for digital files, giving fast browser-based access to documents of any size. Because there is no downloading required, there are no time lags even for users with slow connection speeds.
Cyrax is a laser scanning system that can quickly convert a scanned scene into a 3D surface model and, with guidance by a human operator, into an "intelligent" 3D object model. With a six-millimeter accuracy over a 50-meter area, this system is ideal for constructing as-built models of older structures built without benefit of computer documentation.
Digital photography has the potential to revolutionize construction management because images of job-site problems can be transmitted via the Internet to architects and engineers for faster resolution. But dusty job sites can also be hostile territory for ordinary computers. Enter the VersaCAM from Pentax Technologies. This small, lightweight self-contained camera/processor enables you to shoot pictures and send compressed JPEG files directly to the Internet without a PC.
For the mobile professional, new AEC software is becoming available on handheld computers. From Meridian Project Systems comes Prolog Pocket. It helps track construction inspections, daily details, punch list items, and material inventories. Construction managers can make notes in the field and later connect their Palm to a desktop computer running Prolog Manager project database.
Users of handheld devices running Windows CE now have access to CAD software in miniature. PocketCAD is a mobile tool from Remote Engineering, Inc. for creating and working with drawings in the field. It can be used to display, draw, and edit drawings converted from desktop DWG files. PocketCAD ships with the latest release of PocketDWG, based on Autodesk technology, which handles the conversion between the desktop and PocketCAD.
A new technology in a class by itself is the Surety 2000 Bond Manager. This is being offered by Insurance Services Office, Inc. and Surety 2000 Corp. as a paperless electronic verification of the authenticity of surety bid and performance bonds. Such verification through the Internet is designed to eliminate the submission of fraudulent bonds by construction contractors. The system electronically assigns a unique, tamper-proof authorization code to individual surety bonds. When the code is included in a contractor's bid, the customer can verify the associated bond's authenticity at no cost, with only an ordinary Web browser. This replaces a traditionally labor-intensive, paper-based process that is difficult to validate.
These and other software and hardware products on display at the Show will no doubt help to nudge the construction industry several steps closer to high-tech efficiencies. For the next annual update, check out SYSTEMS 2001 in Chicago next June 18-21.
B.J. Novitski is managing editor for ArchitectureWeek and author of Rendering Real and Imagined Buildings.
Dr. Software offers a special combination of analytical thoroughness with a direct user interface and real-time, graphic feedback.
Image: Dr. Software
The small VersaCam from Pentax Technologies enables you to shoot pictures and send them to the Internet without a PC.
Image: Pentax Technologies
Create, view, and edit drawings in the field with PocketCAD on a handheld computer.
Image: Remote Engineering, Inc.
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