Peter Arkle

As the design-and-construction workflow continues its wholesale move into the cloud, you can expect that developers new and old will keep finding ways to enhance—and leverage—the seemingly boundless platform. We’ve rounded up the latest software updates and launches from around the industry. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments section.

EcoDesigner Star, Graphisoft
Graphisoft designed its EcoDesigner Star software, an ArchiCAD extension, to facilitate thermal building energy modeling during the design phases of a project. The program uses building energy modeling export interfaces, including gbXML and PHPP, to enable collaboration among project team members and to allow data exporting from ArchiCAD to applications that evaluate project compliance with local building codes. The software performs climate analysis, detects thermal bridging, and handles multiple thermal blocks in calculations.


Flir One, Flir
Smartphones’ jobsite uses continue to grow. Flir—which designs and manufactures thermal-imaging technology for applications spanning national defense to traffic control—integrated its infrared thermal-imaging technology in an iPhone case. For use with the iPhone 5 running at least iOS 7, Flir One comprises a case fitted with each of a thermal and visible camera as well as an app. The app and case work together to convert infrared energy detected in still or video captures through the app into electronic signals shown as a colorful gradients atop a video or image. The result is a hardware–software combo that helps to detect defects such as heat loss around windows and doors, overloaded electrical circuits, leaking ducts, and moisture—or, you know, how warm your cat is after its nap. Operates in temperatures ranging 32 F to 113 F. The device will launch this spring.


Tally, Autodesk Labs
A plug-in Web app from Autodesk Labs, Tally lets designers calculate the environmental impact of their material choices more quickly and economically than though a traditional life-cycle assessment by bringing the functionality into an Autodesk Revit model. The app’s software was developed by architecture, planning, and research firm KieranTimberlake

and it integrates LCA data from PE International, a global sustainability consulting firm. It launched at the Greenbuild 2013 and is available for free through February 2014; after that, it’ll be available through Autodesk Exchange at a yet-to-be-announced price.


Revizto 2.1, Viziera
Viziera’s Revizto platform, which lets users convert BIM or SketchUp files into interactive 3D spaces, updated the software earlier this month to allow projects to be exported and shared directly to a website. That’s not the only innovation of late for the promising application. At Autodesk University in December 2013, the company launched Revizto 2.0, whose claims include rendering Revit objects four-times faster than the previous version and includes high-resolution imagery. A free viewer is available for PC, Mac, Android tablets, and Web browsers subscribers of its paid Editor and Workspace platforms.

ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2014, Graphisoft
Graphisoft tweaked its ArchiCAD 17 BIM software in this new suite targeting the needs of smaller architectural practices. ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2014 includes priority-based connection that automatically provide construction documentation for level sections and details, better graphical representation of materials in sections and element surfaces when operating in 3D views, and an improved 3D editing process. This chart compares the features offered in ArchiCAD 17 BIM and the new ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2014.


Autodesk 360 CAM, Autodesk
Autodesk is taking its computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) platform to the cloud in an effort to smooth collaboration among product-design teams. Launched at Autodesk University in December 2013 and currently in its beta release with an anticipated launch later this year, the company’s CAM 360 application incorporates CNC programming tools, and the company’s digital prototyping platform and its newly updated Fusion 360 modeling capabilities. Designed for use with PC or Mac operating systems. Among Fusion 360’s updates is the addition of a design timeline to its direct modeling tools as well as an improved cloud-based project management dashboard, and additional commands that automate previously manual tasks such as imputing text as a sketch and joining components based on their current locations, rather than snap joints. Autodesk also is releasing a new edition of its Autodesk 360 project collaboration tool, which offers access to all project team members from vendors to customers and to designers for tasks such as specifications, renderings, and schematics.


Trimble Field Points, Trimble
Designed to help contractors and engineers create two- and three-dimensional field points within CAD or BIM files by matching digital designs with the construction site, Trimble Field Points software’s point-creation workflows can be used in assemblies such as anchor bolt locations, curtainwall attachments, and hanger or sleeve locations. The program syncs with the company’s Field Link for Structures and Field Link for MEP to expedite workflow. Users can import field data into the software while staying within their CAD or BIM program of choice. Launched in January at World of Concrete in Las Vegas and at the AHR Expo in New York, the software will be available in the first quarter of 2014.


Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Systems
Adobe is brining 3D modeling capabilities to its Photoshop Creative Cloud software, allowing users to build models from scratch or refine existing ones, as well as preview and prepare their designs for printing via a locally connected printer or through its integrated access to online 3D printing services including Shapeways and Sketchfab 3D. The program includes automated mesh repair and support structure generation. The update launched Jan. 16.