Big Apple Recap: "If You Can Hack it There..."

Big Apple Recap: "If You Can Hack it There..." 


The author, as seen through Punchbot, the new robotic job site superintendent.

The author, as seen through Punchbot, the new robotic job site superintendent.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the first AEC Hackathon of the Year, and what a great experience it was to join so many enthusiastic hackers trying to go outside of the usual to blow our minds. 

The Hackathon started on Friday, where we got to mingle, share some ideas, and see the expertise that everybody in the room had. We got to see the many toys that the guys from Rogers-O’Brien Construction brought to play with, and of course, hack them in the best way to win the Hackathon. I liked the fact that there was a lot of fraternity in sharing these toys with everybody, and that everybody was so excited for the next day, when the official starting flag was going to be dropped.

I also noticed a lot of interest on propositions to make better the way that things happen on the job site, from a robotic superintendent to an affordable laser scanning tool using Google Project Tango.

On Saturday, I got the opportunity to share with people curious about 3D web and the web services that Autodesk has to offer. I did a quick presentation of the Viewer and Data API with a room filled with many enthusiasts. That got me started with a lot of excitement to show what this was all about.

We had many people asking really good questions and also very hungry for information on how to get started. I got the opportunity to go over some of the samples we have in the Github Repository for the Viewer and Data API with the participants which they enjoyed a lot.

We also had a visit from NYC’s first CTO Minerva Tantoco, who served as one of the judges for the Hackathon. After many hours of hacking, from Saturday morning until 1 pm on Sunday, the time to start presentations finally arrived. 

The first one was from Team Punchbot, an onsite robotic superintendent which did the integration of the social media job-site platform that host FieldLens offers and the SDK of Double Robotics. It was very nice to see how quickly they were able to overcome the many roadblocks presented by the SDK to successfully finish on time.

The following presenters were two awesome engineers from The Beck Group, who brought a couple of Project Tango tablets to hook up with Revit, giving the user the ability to see the model they had scanned within the FieldLens offices, where the Hackathon was being hold. Incredible outcomes and very cool integration ended up earning them one of the prizes of the Hackathon.

The winner of the overall Hackathon category was VRX, which did an integration using Google Cardboard with Revit to be able to walk around the model selected. There were many more presentations, of course, but for that, here are the video highlights to enjoy at your own pace:

A native of Guatemala, Jaime Rosales Duque has been a member of Autodesk's Developer Technical Services team since July 2014. He joined the company in 2011 via its acquisition of Horizontal Systems, creator of the cloud-based collaboration systems now known as BIM 360 Glue. He was responsible for developing all the add-ins for BIM 360 Glue, using the APIs of various desktop products, such as Revit, Navisworks and AutoCAD. He was also a part of the data integration work that connects BIM 360 Glue, BIM 360 Field and Navisworks in a real-time collaboration workflow.

The author, at right, with members of the Futuristas, a budding group of young female STEM innovators.

The author, at right, with members of the Futuristas, a budding group of young female STEM innovators.


On March 6-8, BuiltWorlds will be hosting Chicago's first AEC Hackathon. For more information about the event or to buy tickets, go here.

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