2010-10-16

The android revolution

Still busy trying to get my AU Virtual classes ready, so with little time for my side projects...
But I changed my Nokia E71 phone (amazing piece of engineering, by the way) for a Samsung Galaxy S. My wife says it's a wannabe iPhone... I say under the bonnet it has a very different beast: the android OS.

I got tired of waiting for the android 2.2 version to reach the market... and all manufacturers are promising great new features in the phones "about to be released". So I made up my mind and entered the phone store. I was amazed by the range of options: iPhone 3G,3GS,4... Nokia E72 (I admit it crossed my mind...) and the android ones: HTC, Samsung, Dell... Bigger screens, or bigger memory, or faster processor, or a cheaper plan, they all sound tempting. My decision was based on the Operating System mainly and a balance between screen size and capacity to fit my pocket (the Dell Streak is fantastic... but I haven't seen mobile phones that big since the Motorola "bricks" in the '80s!)

Now I am discovering that installing the Development Kits and plugging the phone in "debugging" mode, I can access it through the computer, and I am slowly understanding the Java-based programming language. But I am having a lot of fun with the Application Inventor: a web-based tool by Google, where programming is not far from Grasshopper!
I imagine some of you will share my passion for this "visual scripting" tool, imagine my surprise when I discovered I can "click" procedures and instructions in a jigsaw puzzle looking environment, colour-coded and with shapes that, for example, expose components that need an argument and variables or constants you can use...


So, to the endless list of projects "Under NDA" I have added now tutorials and future android apps :)

Among the initial tests I did with my phone, I have plugged it to a server using Citrix and to a TV with a A/V cable. A bluetooth connection allows to use mouse and keyboard (that I've seen in the Dell phone but I couldn't on mine). The consequence is that in theory I could use my mobile as portable office: it would bridge the input-output and use a remote server for full desktop power. It was really exciting to see Revit on the 4 inch screen!!!

Still waiting for my firmware update, but I am really happy to have shifted to android. Now this is triggering a new series of side projects: from the office connectivity and the app tutorials to more ambitious architecture-oriented applications and an Artificial Intelligence project I will tell you when I get a chance.

Stay tuned, the future is coming!!!

2010-10-04

Formula-driven surface in Revit

The heading to this blog reads "...trails of projects too small to be considered or too large to be accomplished... "
This time it's one of the short easy-come easy-go projects, start to end in 2 hours.


By chance I came across a challenge on an AUGI forum:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=119544


The subject "Revit can't do it" and some names I recognized got my attention, and before I realized I was fighting to get a solution. The puzzle consisted in drawing the shape of the British Museum atrium roof.
Fortunately part of the briefing information was a link to a geometric analysis of the shape:
http://opus.bath.ac.uk/14111/1/ChrisDeakin2001.pdf


Based on the capability of the new adaptive components I quickly built a family that would drive the height from the coordinates x y (Reporting Parameters) of the Adaptive Point (using in principle the technique described by Zach Kron here), but using the complicated formulas in the report...


The result is a Revit family with a lot of maths... and the surface of the British Museum:






You can find more details in the AUGI forum:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=119544&page=4


Cheers,
William.