FORM Tech: Seeing Things

Spacemaker VR is a new virtual reality tool that creates an immersive digital experience for designers, architects and clients alike. Image courtesy Digital Physical. Over his 10-year career as an architect, Digital Physical CEO Robert Miles Kemp “worked on everything from skyscrapers to houses,” he says, but “it was difficult to have clients understand everything we’d show them. I wanted to build a real time design tool.” Kemp eventually moved on from building structures on to building software, but the experience planted a seed.

Enter Digital Physical’s Spacemaker VR, a new tool that takes 3D design files and turns them into virtual worlds. Say you’re an architect. You can bring a headset to your client (one of the great benefits of the product is its portability—it can easily fit into a backpack), and she puts it on. Immediately, she has a 110-degree view of the project making it feel “like you’re in it for real,” says Kemp. “The architect can be there with them, driving the keyboard and taking them around the space, talk to them and ask questions.” As an added bonus, other viewers can watch on-screen in mono-view, creating a unique forum for back-and-forth on the design and putting the architect and client on the same page. There’s even an option that allows jpegs to be made and annotated later.  

The response has been enthusiastic, to say the least. “Every architect has freaked out,” says a delighted Kemp. “They love the idea of being able to use it as a daily design tool.” The new software accepts 25 different formats. From there, it will automatically create a 3D file. “It’s easy for me to design a space, take my model file, go into my design and look at it.” It’s a great addition to the architect and designers’ toolbox, allowing ideas to be tested and refined in real-time, saving time and money.

For Kemp, this iteration of the project is an entry-level product. “We’re just at the beginning of seeing what a real time design tool can do,” he says.

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