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‘Holographic BIM projector’ team triumphs at London AEC Hackathon


A team that “hacked” a holographic projector out of materials they found at the host location – the Future Cities Catapult Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell, London – was judged the winner out of five ad-hoc teams who attended the first AEC Hackathon in the UK.

During the weekend-long event, GhostBIMSquad also worked on a system to link asset tagging, a relational information database and Bluetooth navigation within buildings, winning the Best Overall Project award. 

But its perspex pyramid that displayed an image of the BIM model as a 3D holograph has caught the imagination and also helped win it a second award: the Autodesk Virtual Reality and 3D challenge.

GhostBIMSquad’s members included George Stevenson and Tim Aikin, managing director and director respectively of Nottingham-based BIM consultancy ActivePlan; Dr Zulfikar Adamu from the school of civil and building technology at Loughborough University; and Marek Siupik, a graduate software engineer at Mott MacDonald.

The Autodesk-sponsored event on 18-19 July attracted 80 people, consisting of coders, architects, BIM experts, entrepreneurs, start-ups and students. Between hacking and coding sessions, there were also seminars, debates and networking.

Simon Hart, platform leader for the built environment at Innovate UK, told BIM+: “The winners will be coming back to the Future Cities Catapult in September to present their system, and I know they’ve registered a domain name. It’s impressive, there’s real potential for some of these projects.”

Hart said there were already plans to host a second event in July 2016.

Four other teams also took part in the event, where the participants were challenged to solve a series of problems.

Team Gapathon created an open API (Application Program Interface) to improve analysis of an Innovate UK and Energy Savings Trust dataset evaluating the performance of dozens of buildings. It won three awards: the Innovate UK Hack challenge, the Energy Saving Trust Challenge and the Future Cities Catapult Challenge.

Hart said that the team members and the Energy Saving Trust had scheduled a meeting to discuss further development of the idea. 

Team Massive created an app to find “hidden” space in London that could be developed within the current planning constraints, for instance by raising the height of buildings.

Team Optioneers developed an app aimed at homebuyers, allowing them to make better choices, using the motto “closing the loop between design options", and Team Concur created an app that built on Autodesk’s View tool.

The winners will be coming back to the Future Cities Catapult in September to present their system. It’s impressive, there’s real potential for some of these projects.– Simon Hart, platform leader for the built environment, Innovate UK