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Hacking a $7-trillion industry in a weekend

Hacking a $7-trillion industry in a weekend


If Tony Stark or Elon Musk became bored with taking on NASA, the global automotive industry and the utility companies and instead decided to reinvent, automate, democratize and fully digitize the $7-trillion dollar global construction industry, where would they begin and how would they find the people and partners willing and able to drive the industry forward?  One way to begin would be to organize a hackathon to attract the innovators in this famously change-resistant industry.

And while many industries are inefficient and in great need of reinvention, the construction industry is one of the worst and could benefit most from the integration of new technologies like those demonstrated in this recent video from Elon Musk speaking about The Future of Design.

Since Elon is extremely busy and Tony Stark is a fictional character, other people have to take step in to make it happen.  Over a long weekend on September 12 to 14th, over 100 people from the software, gaming, virtual  reality and smart homes communities mixed with regional leaders from the Northwest architecture and construction industry at the third architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) Hackathon at the University of  Washington’s Pacific Northwest Center for Construction Research and Education.

Tony Stark and Elon Musk. Separated at birth?

Tony Stark and Elon Musk. Separated at birth?

Sponsoring companies (also listed in the photo above) and individuals from the following companies included:

Leading gaming technology companies like Epic and Unity
Software companies such as AutodeskBentley, Sketchup – TrimbleMcNeelGraphisoftMicrosoft
Virtual Design and Construction/BIM managers from leading construction companies BNBuildersMortenson,HoffmanHoward S. WrightBalfour Beatty,  etc.
Companies and organizations in architecture, 3D printing, laser scanning, smart homes/internet of things, virtual and augmented reality, simulation, gaming, etc.
Startups, students, gamers, free agent hackers, professors from the University of Washington and a venture capitalist.

The event was organized by the non-profit AEC Hackathon  organization which previously organized two AEC Hackathons on Facebook’s campus in the last year in March 2014 (info and videos here) and November of 2013 (info and videos here).

The event kicked off on Friday with a reception at 7 pm followed by informal mixing and lightning round introductions of individuals and companies interested in specific hacks and in finding collaborators for the weekend.  Hack teams formed on Saturday while  concurrent presentations  were given on technology and AEC (a full list is copied below).   Hacking continued on Sunday and was concluded in the afternoon with judging and prizes awarded.  We will be adding videos and full team information on the individual hacks to the AEC Hackthon websitelinkedin groupFacebook page,Youtube and Vimeo channels, Meetup Group, other social media and this  blog as our friends at Blue Fern Productionscomplete the editing. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @AECHackathon.

The winning hacks selected from 10 entries:

Best Interactive 3D App (using open standards & open source) – AnalysEC – $500
1st Place – BuildTrak – $300
2nd Place – Dude, Where’s My Nail  Gun? – $200
Autodesk Challenge – Best 3D Application – Avengers – Autodesk prizes
Honorable Mention – Hazyard – 2 subscriptions to Epic’s Unreal Engine 4
Honorable Mention – 'Revit My Drone' – 2 subscriptions to Epic’s Unreal Engine 4
Student Prize – C-Seq: Construction Sequencer – 1 subscription to Epic’s Unreal Engine 4

Presentations on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

AEC Track
10 am – Autodesk and the AEC Industry
Augusto Goncalves, Specialist in API development, Autodesk

Computational Design (Dynamo), Patrick Tierney, Senior Software Engineer, Autodesk

1 pm – Case studies illustrating leading edge use of BIM and digital laser scanning to deliver world-class construction projects,
Dale Stenning, BIM Manager, Hoffman Construction

2 pm – Solving for Simplicity – Developing a proprietary software solution to enable mass customization, Sam Pardue, CEO and Founder, Indow

3 pm – Digital Fabrication – Digital Building, Robotics and Automation in AEC
Greg Howes, CEO, IDEAbuilder, Digital Fabrication Network

4 pm – Innovation and Technology in AEC
Neil GordonMortensen

Technology Track
10:30 am – How 3D Printing is Being Used Today for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Data
Scott Cullum, NW Account Manager, Fathom

11:30 am – Immersive Tech and the Built Environment
Damon HernandezAEC Hackathon Executive Director

1:30 pm – Full-Motion Virtual Reality in Architecture, Engineering and Construction and the Built Environment
Dave Ruddell, Jamie Kelly, Mark Haverstock and Ivan Blaustein, Founders and TeamVRcade

3:30 pm – Laser Scanning Live Demo.  New software tools for data processing and integration in a CAD and BIM environments.
Richard Hill, Laser Scanning Sales and Support, The PPI Group

4:30 pm – The Internet of Things and Smart Homes
Craig Dowell, Senior Staff/Manager, Qualcomm and 

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