A version of this article appears in the May/June 2008 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
May 01, 2008
A growing number of companies providing products and services to the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry are diving into virtual reality. Whirlpool Corporation has a division dedicated to translating its entire product catalog into digital 3-D files, and McGraw Hill Construction has created a platform to distribute 3-D files from building product manufacturers seamlessly online. And wouldn’t you know it . . . Google is at the forefront of it all, with Google SketchUp and the Google 3D Warehouse. Google SketchUp is a 3-D modeling program that is the closest thing to a pencil and paper on your computer. Since it’s for everyone, people use it for designing, for problem solving; as a what-if tool, a consultation aid, a brainstorming tool; and some users even call it therapeutic. Apple calls it “deceptively simple.” Companies such as Whirlpool and McGraw Hill use SketchUp to quickly and inexpensively build product catalogs that can be shared online. The Google 3D Warehouse is the online repository for storing and sharing 3-D models that can be uploaded and downloaded for free by SketchUp users around the world. What’s very exciting about these tools is that users can plant ...
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