In a recent post I hinted at a really impressive project that is being unveiled today in the exhibit hall of AU 2022. (My involvement was as usual pretty minor, primarily relating to data visualization, while the really impressive work was around designing and printing it.) The project is a 5 metre long single-cantilevered (in terms of the printing – it’s supported at both ends when in use) smart bridge, 3D-printed from recycled PETG and glass fibre in our Boston Technology Center for Dar.
Here’s a video shared via LinkedIn that describes the project and a photo of Steve Blum and Andrew Anagnost giving it a try.
I can now confirm that there is a clear winner of the “competition” I launched in the teaser post.
I have no idea how Giacomo knew – and could express his answer with such a high degree of certainty – but his guess was almost exactly on the money: the bridge weighs in at around 960 kg.
I’ll be sending a miniature version of the bridge to Giacomo after AU as a prize.
In case you’re wondering, it’s the younger sibling to this project, albeit 150% longer (and with a different design and manufacturing technique – something we’ll talk more about in a future post).
The “smarts” comes from FBG sensors integrated into the deck and traditional strain gauges in the supports. They generate data that we stream live to a nearby browser running Dasher and send to the cloud for posterity.
Here’s a quick image of the bridge in Dasher, albeit with data collected from its smaller sibling, before it was fully connected. I’ll share more photos of the actual object (which is stunning) and how it was built in due course.
Here’s the first video we’ve taken of the bridge being used and Dasher displaying its data. There’s a slight lag, but I’m hopefully going to tune the system up when it’s less busy in the exhibit hall. (Thanks to Alex Tessier for his help filming this.)
I will say it’s been quite hectic getting ready for the event – in much the same way as it was for BIM World Paris and the 2m version. The thing about a project such as this is that you really need to be in the same location as the bridge to get certain things working properly, and inevitably some things don’t work quite as you’d expect.
Nic Carey spent some long hours working on the sensor streaming infrastructure, while Pete Storey, James Donnelly and Taylor Tobin – who were the people working on the printing – gave a lot of moral support as I tracked down a number of issues.
And there’s the simple stuff: the team is really invested in making the exhibit a success, to the point of touching up and cleaning the bridge to make sure everything is perfect.
If you happen to be in New Orleans for AU2022, please do come by the exhibit hall to check it out – you can’t miss it! We’ve been asked not to let non-employees on the bridge, but frankly that means you’ll get a clear view of the screen showing Dasher as one of us does so. :-)