It is constantly growing

We just came back from a short walk to the construction site. It definitely is making some progress!
Our building is ready to get the ceiling of the ground floor. On the neighbor block the first floor is already under construction. And the terraced houses on the same property have got the cellar and garages.
I am curious how it will look like when I come back next week after attending the Intergeo 2012 trade show in Hannover.

View over the cellar of the terraced houses looking at our building

Another view towards our building

Another view towards our building

We already got the first steps of the entrance staircase

We already got the first steps of the entrance staircase

Posted in Architecture, Building our new apartment, Technology | Leave a comment

Mind-blowing and Inspiring – Siggraph 2012

What an amazing week!

For years I wanted to attend the Siggraph conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques. However it never worked out and I used to get reminded of my intent when I read the first reviews in the media. But this year is different in many respects. And so I managed to plan ahead, free up the time, get all approvals and book the flight into the worlds capital of movie making.

Salsa dancing on the beach

Salsa dancing on the beach

View from the famous Santa Monica pier

View from the famous Santa Monica pier

And suddenly you have a old song in your ear…

Since we arrived already on Saturday afternoon while the conference was planned to start on Sunday noon, we decided to use the time for a short trip to the beaches of Santa Monica. Although it was almost evening when we arrived at the beach walk the Californian mood instantly got me. Salsa dancing people, cyclist, skaters… and finally we had a delicious pizza on Main Street.

After having a substantial breakfast we had the cost-free conference shuttle bring us to the Los Angeles Convention Center where the first courses were about to kick-off the Siggraph 2012. Already when arriving in our hotel, I was impressed by the great organisation of the event. What started already with a very handy online scheduler before we left Germany, continued at the front desk where we received some flyers with information about the conference and the schedule for the shuttle busses. Once in the Convention Center, we proceeded to the registration area, where we could easily print out our attendee batches by simply scanning the bar code on our reservation email. Big signs and information posters helped to find your way through the massive amount of meetings, courses and panel discussions.

Are you Science? …

Filled up with big expectations, I have to admit that I have not been dissapointed at all. I have never before attended an event with such a wealth of information and real content about the latest state of science and technologies. Follwing the organisation’s claim to bring together Science and Art all that was enriched with an art exhibition, the Computer Animation Festival and much more food for all your senses.

…or are you Art?

On Tuesday, the accompanying exhibition opened its gates and offered lots of opportunities to meet the big players in the industry. Hardware from the latest graphics cards to panoramic HDR cameras and 3D printers was presented as well the latest Software to create, render, animate and capture actor motions.

As Siggraph 2012 overwhelmed me with much more information than I could write in a short Blog article, take a look at the pictures I shot to get your own impression. The event is definitely worth the trip and I am hoping to be able to attend again next year in Anaheim!

Waiting for the Keynote Presentation

The crowd leaving the course on stereoscopic movie making

Downtown Los Angeles at night – on our way to the desert reception

Foundry presenting how to create high quality renderings from FARO Focus3D laser scans and HDR photography

Thai dinner at the food truck in Santa Monica on Tuesday night

Emerging Technologies – sensual plants giving visual feedback if you touch them

The Studio provided a motion capturing playground for experiments

Emerging Technologies – feedback system to let you feel the surface texture of virtual objects

Emerging Technologies – virtual drum trainer

Emerging Technologies – soap bubbles used to project images

Emerging Technologies – prototype of a tensor diplay. 3D without goggles 2.

Emerging Technologies – holographic projection screen. 3D without goggles 1.

Interactive 3D projection table

Emerging Technologies – prototype of a light field display. 3D without goggles 3.

Actor motion capture without markers 1

Actor motion capture with markers

Actor motion capture without markers 2

Mixed reality by Canon. Virtual car show room.

Power Wall made from an array of 3D TV sets

3D printing in color

Hi-res HDR panoramic camera system for mobile image capturing

Posted in Art, Events, Technology | 1 Comment

We got a window!

Our first window!

OK – It is only a cellar window, but it is ours!

Yesterday we made a little walk to the construction site to see how the things are going. And indeed they seem to accelerate. There are now 2 cranes lifting things up and most of the outer cellar walls seem to be erected.

With a little good will, we can even see our parking lots and the shaft for the elevator.

Two cranes enjoying the sunset

Two cranes enjoying the sunset

Overview of the construction site

Overview of the construction site

Posted in Architecture, Building our new apartment | Leave a comment

Awards, awards, awards…

FARO Focus3D – Awarded in iF product design award 2012 – gold

OK, I have to admit that I am a little bit proud about my company and our Focus3D Laser Scanner. But after years of hard work of everybody involved in the development of this machine, it is fun getting some public attention.

Last year we received the “Focus Open 2011” design award from the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. This was followed by being shown on the cover of the Popular Science Magazine featuring the “100 best products of 2011”. Earlier this year, the Focus3D additionally received the well renown price “iF product design award 2012 in gold“.

red dot award: product design 2012
redt dot: best of the best

Just a few days ago, the set of important design awards has been completed by receiving the “red dot design award – best of the best 2012“.

But not the awards are important. What really matters is to always strive to develop products which are intuitive and ergonomic to use, fun to touch and look at. Only if the user feels confident and safe in running a device like a 3D laser scanner he is enabled to concentrate on the real task instead of wasting energy operating a difficult machine.

Posted in 3D Laser Scanning, Product Design, Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Style your own home –

When browsing around the internet, I just found “Homestyler“, a tool for people who want to redesign their home. Homestyler is one of the first outcomes of Autodesk´s latest cloud computing initiative. It does not require installation and licensing but simply runs in a web browser (I tested it on my office PC as well as on my home Mac).

Because I am interested in both topics: home design and investigating on cloud computing I thought I would give it a quick try…

First of all, the user interface looks quite intuitive. You are offered a set of different room shapes which serve as templates. Once the rooms are roughly placed on the drawing canvas, you may move and adjust walls by simply dragging them on the screen. As soon as the room layout is done, Homestyler provides doors, windows, furniture and light elements to furnish the newly designed home.

Interesting from a commercial point of view is how Autodesk cooperates with home suppliers. Besides generic furniture elements, vendors are offering parts of their current catalogs. This allows for advertising the latest products and have the prospect customers try them out virtually in their known environment – very clever!

So far so good. But how is this working in real life?

The layout work all takes place in a 2D top view. Only for viewing the result, Homestyler offers a 3D view.
What works intuitively and quickly for the first steps, unfortunately proofs to be a bit challenging as soon as you try to give rooms exact sizes and walls or doors an accurate position. Also the 3D view could – at least for someone who works with professional 3D software packages every day – provide a more elaborate navigation. Basically, the viewing angle from a position slightly higher than the walls always stays the same. The user can only rotate the room design about the z-axis in fixed steps and zoom in or out.

From my point of view, it would be very beneficial if the user could freely define viewing positions within the rooms to get a good feeling about how well the picked furniture would fit together. But at least in the standard free of cost version of Homestyler such a feature seems to be missing.

To summarize this first short test:

Homestyler by Autodesk is an interesting approach to provide 3D CAD in a easy-to-use way for the rest of us. But once you seriously start planning your new furniture, weaknesses in accurately placing objects and navigating in 3D become obvious. If Autodesk continues improving the project, it might become a really helpful tool for furniture manufacturers as well as for customers.

Posted in Architecture, Building our new apartment, CAD, Technology, Websites | 1 Comment

Foundations casted, ready for the first walls

I just come back from a bike ride to the construction site. One can already see the progress of the new building. The foundations have been casted and the formwork for the first cellar walls is set up.

I can hardly wait to see the building grow – I would love to move in today…



Posted in Architecture, Building our new apartment | Leave a comment

The Big Dig

Just coming back from a walk to the construction site of our new apartment. It is great to have it only a few walking minutes away from our current home so we can frequently have a look at the progress.
When I worked for a civil engineering company and during my work in the 3D laser scanning business I have been on construction sites many times. But somehow this one is different – they are building not just any building, this is where we will have our home on the roof top!

Currently they have started to excavate the parking garage, we have a crane and a few excavators.
And if you know where you have to look at, you could already imagine where our cellar compartment will be.

Excavation on 08.07.2012, the crane is set up

Excavation on 08.07.2012, the crane is set up

Excavation on 08.07.2012, first concrete is poured

Excavation on 08.07.2012, first concrete is poured

Posted in Architecture, Building our new apartment | Leave a comment

The next big adventure

After more than a year of searching, we recently signed in for the next big adventure of our life.
We have been looking into hundreds of ads and talked to at least a dozen of real estate brokers. With this experience we almost started to become frustrated.
And then, suddenly, we had it on the screen of our computer: A layout drawing of an apartment which had almost everything we had on our wish-list. Additionally it was located in the favorite city in our area – Ludwigsburg.
It all looked too good… There must be a catch in it somewhere…
So we started investigating all the details, learnt things I never thought we would have to know. But we could not find a reason why we should not have found our new home.
In the end, my wife´s last concern was the question “how would the view from our apartment look like?”. OK – this question was really not too easy to answer. If you go to our new address, all one would see would be an empty field in a newly developed neighbourhood.
But being an engineer living each day in the world of virtual 3-dimensional worlds, I already had a solution in my mind. I took my MacBook, downloaded SketchUp and searched the interned for some development plans of our new neighbourhood. Once I had all things pulled together, I spent a Sunday afternoon to turn the boring 2D drawings into a first 3D model of the apartment and it´s whole surrounding.

Overview of our future neighbourhood

Overview of our future neighbourhood

Now we could check out, how the view into our new neighbourhood would look like. And after lots of discussions, we finally decided that we have found our dream apartment.

Looking down from one of our future terraces

Looking down from one of our future terraces

Next was talking to the construction company. Negotiating is kind of tough in a time where literally everybody in our area seems to be looking to invest their money into real estate. But still my lovely wife proved to be a very skilled negotiator and we realized and agreement which satisfied us.
Talking to the banks was another very interesting experience. Maybe I will write more on this in another post.

Long story short: We have bought the apartment and now spend our weekends in watching the building grow. We will try to regularly post here about the further developments until we will finally move into our new home.

Posted in Building our new apartment, CAD, Technology | Leave a comment

Learning the Bird’s Language


Much too much time has passed by since my last article…
I was traveling a lot since December. And when I have not been traveling, I was preparing the next trip or trying to catch up with all the work which has piled up while I have not been at my desk.
Currently it looks like I will stay at home for the next few weeks. The next planned trip will only be in August when I will attend the SIGGRAPH 2012 in Los Angeles and I am using this opportunity to write this article.

While nothing has changed on the travelling front and business is moving forward as usual, one thing has changed since a few weeks: I am “learning the language of the birds”.

You’re wondering what this all about?

Very simple: after staying away from it for years, a new business partner has convinced me to take a look at Twitter. And she obviously was successful – I am tweeting like a young sparrow!
And I have to admit that it is really amazing how efficient Twitter is working. Once you understood how to search for interesting topics and people, it is very simple to stay up-to-date.

At the moment, I am using Twitter only for professional topics. My Twitter-ID is FARO_LS_PM.
So, if you are interested in what is going on at the 3D laser scanning front, 3D visualization, software and so on, you are very welcome to follow me!

Posted in 3D Laser Scanning, Events, Social Media | Leave a comment

Pictures of an Exhibition

Focus Open 2011

Focus Open 2011 Exhibition

Just in time, before it will close its doors tomorrow, we managed to visit the “Focus Open 2011” exhibition in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Each year, this exhibition is celebrating the laureates of the Baden-Württemberg industrial design award.
This year it was extra fun for me as we could visit the latest product of my company there. Our FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner was awarded with this prize for its clear structure in shape, material, colors and branding representing its functionality while providing easy access to its main functionality.
It has been a real honor for the whole FARO laser scanner team to receive this acknowledgement.

Focus3D on display at the Focus Open 2011 exhibition

Focus3D on display at the Focus Open 2011 exhibition

Sign explaining the motivation to award the Focus3D with the design prize

Sign explaining the motivation to award the Focus3D with the design prize

Displayed like a piece of art

A laser scanner displayed like a piece of art

Posted in 3D Laser Scanning, Events, Product Design, Technology | Leave a comment