03 December 2005

Uni-verse

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The architecture industry has received a boost from the introduction of what is termed ‘a new open-source internet platform’. It’s called ‘Uni-verse’ and enables architects and designers to view and work on designs simultaneously

The architecture industry has received a boost from the introduction of what is termed ‘a new open-source internet platform’. It’s called ‘Uni-verse’ and it is a flexible network that enables architects and designers to view and work on designs simultaneously.

Financially supported by the EU and coordinated by Gert Svennson at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the Uni-verse project is backed up by an array of experts and researchers from diverse fields such as 3D tools, 3D audio, Virtual Reality, the world of gaming and 3D processing. The project is also supported by a group of seven partner institutions across Europe.

The technology itself is based on the ‘Verse’ network protocol and comprises a central server system that acts as a hub and passes messages on to the end user. Communication is carried out instantly using the protocol, thus negating the need to access data through traditional load/save features. This system also protects against data loss in the event of a crash.

The implications for the way that architects work are great. Uni-verse could also be useful for designers in other fields, such as computer game design, virtual reality and interior design.

The benefit for interior designers is that they can create a conceptual model of whatever they are designing and make changes to it on their computer which can be seen on other machines in real-time. The user will be able to control the acoustics of the space, control how it looks in 3D, and be freer to experiment and see immediate results to any changes that are made.

Traditionally, acoustic planning has been carried out by specialist firms. With Uni-verse it is now possible for architects and interior designers to model the effect changes in design will have when adapted to spaces of different sizes and scales, such as a sports hall, pub or a concert hall.

The protocol is easy-to-use, with advanced features that include a high dynamic range and shader trees. Several other end-user tools are currently being developed to be distributed under a free license.
 

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