Category Archives: smart grid

Architectural Technologist – Google heads up display

A spiral stair made whith Google Sketchup
A spiral stair made whith Google Sketchup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have refrained from mentioning the gossip on the Google heads up display engadget has one of the best reviews, but its just getting to much, so here goes. The video below came on stream, yesterday and its already, as I type, got 473,000 hits, so some one has clocked it, but I doubt they have sat back an thought, other than cool, where can I buy, my social networking is going to get so much better, but this morning I did sit back and think for a while, for the Architectural Technologist this has to be a little more interesting than just some of the points in the video, like mail, photo and camera work. for instance, can I overlay my own drawings on the screen as I walk, making notes, live to my office staff. Will it bring up construction notes and building reg info on request.

So much I can see this being used for, but and here is the massive but, what format will it be accepted in, Google already has Sketchup, and I can see the vision, that they had now, some one was thinking so far into the future, at Google, maps, buildings construction information, all this could be in Sketchup, so easy, and why bother with any one else’s CAD format, when Sketchup can do so much, and what it can’t do yet  like BIM info and the more sophisticated data work we are used to in Vantagepoint Cartographics with Vectorworks, why not introduce export functions.

But be sure for what ever reason you use your particular brand of CAD, be sure its compatible with Sketchup, google Earth and what ever else Google comes up with regarding data.

As a last though, and probably one of many I will add throughout the day on Google+, will it recognise QR codes of specific materials and bring up manufacturer info, not thats useful, the symbols need not be big, just enough for Google software to pickup,,,,,,,,,,,, more on my Google+ +steve Scaysbrook



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Architectural Technologist – More links and tips are now posted on Google +

Google+ wordmark
Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Google +, the way posts can ripple from small to increasingly large number of readers is quite amazing, so much so, I have started to expand my CPD onto Google plus, under my own name, +stevescaysbrook , plus some more general comments on life and things that seem to excite me. The Circles tabs allow specific people to read them, but most of my posts are public anyway.



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Architectural Technologist – Ecobuild 2012

roof slates
roof slates (Photo credit: siaronj)

What a day, a long and arduas trip to see Ecobuild, getting there was easy, walking the long hals, easy, getting home via the M25 and M40 crap. Nuff said !.

Still the exhibition more than made up for the bad travelling experience going home, an excellent exhibition. As always I made plans as to what and whome I wanted to see, and managed to fill all the boxes. I also spoke on the CU stand re my companies work with Vectorworks and the work we do under the Vantagepoint Cartographics Ltd banner, building large Arborculturist style maps of large gardens and building databases of the trees and other intems, plus the seasrching and showing any tree on the large estate.

Apart from the presentation, I managed to see some old friends on the Dow stand, catch up with one of two products I use a lot, and find some new ones that caught my eye, like always I make plans, but alway leave a little room to wander and see if anything looks new or innovative, and I’m glad to say PV was in abundance. A lot we the same old same panels, dam ugly and just not attractive. but passing one stand I was pleased to see that they have made a slate alternative that looks and fixes like a real slate for pitched roofing. Solar Slate have a simple yet effective product to use the sun without having those ugly panels. Solar Slate can be mixed with traditional slate easily, its the same thickness, but fixing is slightly different, no nailing just a clever clip arrangement. There will still be the mess of wires at the back, out of sight, but it looks like a normal slate roof and thats all that matters, apart from the fact its generating power.

Todays picture is of a traditional slate roof, I did take photos of the stand, and these will be on my flickr account some time today. CPD here is vast, and I could claim a stack load of hours, but I will limit it to just 2, being the innovation and general wandering I did, whilst I found solar Slate.


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Architectural Technologist – Can New Wind Turbine Design Triple Energy Production !

CPD Records
CPD Records (Photo credit: Scays)

This article again I saw on Google+ so many thanks to +Lauren Weinstein. I, as you all know love this kind of technology, and just can’t see a reason not to use it in domestic house designs, small but elegantly designed wind turbines might just tip the edge over together with efficient PV products and say gravity fed water mills.

There are some great ideas being generated on wind turbine technology, I have listed at least two other videos below for you to follow up on.

Todays photo is just a gentle reminder of the looming end to the CPD year, have you got your 35 hours sorted yet.


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Architectural Technologist – Nano quadcopter and so much more

TED (conference)
Image via Wikipedia

This has to be the TED video of the year for any Architectural Technologist, Architect, surveyor, simply because of the future it offers for expanding survey and site work. Vijay Kumar of the University of Pennsylvania, presents the inner workings of the flying nano Quad copters, we have been watching on Youtube recently. Some of the presentation we have seen before, and if your into maths, then you will find the algorithms interesting, for me its like watching paint dry !,

But hang in there and wait until about two thirds of the way into the presentation, because I found this section  the most exciting. Vijay explains that you can attach a small camera to the belly of the copter and fly around videoing any building and object in real time, good that this is, it does not come close to attaching a laser scanner as well,  that can build up a real time 3D image of the building as it fly’s through, in real time on your screen. Now this is what makes me stand up and watch this section of the video time and time again.

The video at just over 16 mins long is not just required viewing, its a must for any technologist, we, that is my company Konstrukshon Ltd and Vantagepoint Cartographics , use a much larger quadcopter from a company in Leeds to inspect hight level roofs, it’s a much larger unit and can carry quite a decent sized camera but it certainly can’t fly indoors or have the same manoverability, and certainly can’t scan a building and draw it in real time.

What ever, the presentation is very cool, and worth your time watching. now my only problem is getting the laser Scanned 3D image into Vectorworks.

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Architectural Technologist – Data and code open sourced from Google’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal project

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google have released, a set of data and code to allow Heliostats to track the sun accuratly, via their Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative. The videos below outline the project and give a demo of the technology in action.

The solar power tower is an exciting technology that works by using a field of mirrors, called heliostats, to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a solar receiver on top of a tower. This generates electricity from the sun’s concentrated heat. It’s been successfully demonstrated in the US and abroad at a small scale.Google invested $168M in the world’s largest power tower project under construction — Brightsource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS). The project is set to be completed in 2013, when it will generate 392 MW of clean solar energy.

Last night I also watched the excellent Prof Brian Cox looking at using  Fussion principles in a lab, I can’t see that I like the idea of a small sun working in the basement some how, but using the sun to produce power is in my book the way ahead, ok making power by fusion might seem more sexy to a physicist. but the sun wacks out a lot more than heat.

Google is pushing it’s weight quietly along this Heliostat route and getting some serious results, but best of all, they are open sourcing the software and the data.. Scale it down to allow small estates to use it, and put some decent design into the tower, suddenly it begins to make sense.

CPD may not be obvious, but as a base for some serious research into the next generation power source, you can’t go to far wrong with this.

Further reading on Heliostats can be found at the Heliotrack site, the ever useful Wiki articles and their links, Practical Solar also has some usful comments, and links, look at their technology page, and how it works. Bomin Solar show how this technology can be extended to just simply extending light to areas not usualy soaked in sun, also think of locating PV panels into shaded areas and lighting them with a Heliostat and this collection of pictures is a good review of shapes, styles and methods. I wanted to see if I could down scale the Google technology to a more single dwelling or DIY level, and found this excellent site.

Is this realy a new technology, think again, I can just about remember microscopes having a simple Helioscope to light the sample.

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Architectural Technologist – Sketchup plugin to design solar array

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I came across the Skellon plugin for Google Sketchup via the sketchup news letter, and thought it worth mentioning, the video below gives the basic lowdown, and use, but I think it might grow to be more usefull as solar comes of age, particularly with roof tiles becoming more PV oriented, . I like the car carking covers all made of Solar panels, excellent.

  • Export energy reports automatically from PVWatts (in USA) or PVGis (in EU)
  • Use the PV Modules data base or add your own model
  • Control the shading angles for any hour of the year
  • Load the current location from Google Earth
Not a bad little addition to sketchup.



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Architectural Technologist – A Flying nano quadrotor model bug shows it’s not science fiction but reality

English: Sequence of images showing a peach de...
Image via Wikipedia

Remember that video I showed some time back of a tower being built with a single robotic helicopter, neat hu,,,,,,, well get a load of this video below, it show just how far the technology is getting, cranes might be several hundred years old but who needs them now with this sort of technology. Ok so its still a little in the future, but how far, certainly we are already using drones in military campaigns, look at the USA, this technology is a boom to us now, hook up a simple camera to one of these, tell it to hover at the right place, and watch, beats going to site , when you can watch from your desk.

Weather might be a big problem, rain and strong winds come to mind, look at the figure of eight manoeuvre in the film, try that on a windy day !, but again I say, this must be in the designers mind as something to over come. I have worked with a company in the north of England, to survey trees and large estates, with a much larger quadcopter, but given a sniff of wind the machine, can not fly and it needs a civil aviation licence to operate !, so, I await this technology with glee. But passing a local toy shop, I spied a similar craft for just a few £££, running on no more than an AAA battery ! so perhaps it’s not to long. all we need is the signal from my wifi to instruct it, and a nice cheap program to control it. Perhaps the local site WiFi picking up the bug if it’s out of my range.

This brings into play BIM, what I hear you say, well think about it, we should be geotagging sites, materials or portions of sites, they should be so easy to find, if the site is properly geotagged., say I want to locate and look at a particular detail, if I know the lat long and orientation, easy.

It’s not great CPD, but interesting, as a Technologist we want information from site, still and time lapse fixed cameras are now common place, and my iPhone always get a beating when I go to site, but what if I can open my window, launch a bug, close the window and wait 10 mins for it to travel to site, and all I have to do is open a browser window to watch, the gps location being sent beforehand and a little onsite adjustment to get the shot I want.

Want more, go to their youtube site and be prepared to watch for a while. or go to the videos below, only just a few of the videos available, but your still not convinced, go to the bottom video, it says it all,,,,,,!!!!

As for the top right photo today, not anything really to do with flying bugs , just a nice time lapse render of a peach decaying.



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Architectural Technologist – Home Smart house – is it here

Wi-Fi Signal logo
Image via Wikipedia

It will come, there is no stopping it and you should get to grips with it, what you might ask, Home WiFi, no not your normal home wifi to connect to the web, this is to allow all the other bits and pieces your fridge, home security, lights and the rest, talk to the net, and each other. Gigaom has an excellent article that outlines this with a review of the Belkin WiFi adaptor, WeMo system, that does all of this and probably more. The Motion Sensor, is ideal for so many things.

For us as Technologists, I can easily see it expanding to small smart sensors in the wall, looking at temp, humidity, stress/stain gages, tank levels, water and gas pressures, outside temp, in fact a whole host of appliances that help the well being of any domestic house.

So is the smart house creeping up on us, quicker than we might think, well yes, particularly as photo volataic panels gain more ground and wind and other means of power generation in the home are norm, the idea that my system could talk to the next system and sell energy is fast becoming a reality, and not Sci Fi .You might also ask, just how long will satellite continue, in it’s current form,


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Architectural Technologist –

Image by pixelfrenzy via Flickr

This video below is only the start, ok it’s just a mock-up at an exhibition, but it shows the way ahead, and shows that all these videos of a glass worlds are not just fantasy, but reality. I can’t see what OS they are running, but does it matter, not realy, I would liked to have seen a video playing or a skype session. but happy with what’s on show.


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