Vectorworks Adds Augmented Reality Features to Free Nomad App
Andrew Wheeler posted on January 23, 2018 |

As you may already know, Vectorworks develops BIM software and has a free app for mobile devices called Nomad. Apple announced the release of its augmented reality developer kit, called ARKit, back in September 2017.

Nomad was not bereft of a 3D model viewing mode prior to its release, but it did have limited capabilities. For instance, while you could circle around a 3D model—and even move right through it—you couldn’t do much else.

Developers at Vectorworks have upgraded Nomad’s viewing mode using ARKit, and now users can overlay their 3D models at a 1:1 scale, framed digitally in situ. This can make for better design decisions, as well as reduce the need to make physical prototypes earlier in the design process.

When the design is at scale in a BIM context, issues and obstacles are removed that may not be relevant or present when viewing the digital model without its final physical context on a jobsite.

How It Works

If you have the Nomad app and your iOS device is up to date, then you can upload a Vectorworks 3D model to Cloud Services, and click “View in AR.” The rest of the mechanics should be familiar as users zoom in and out, and place the 3D model in the correct physical space to see a fully realized digital prototype.

Nomad with AR is helpful for designing any room or space in a BIM context for fairly obvious reasons. Say you’re designing a kitchen or a bathroom and want to see how different fixtures or cabinets work together in tandem. Uploading the Vectorworks 3D models will give you a chance to test your design ideas without committing to anything physical, which takes more time to produce—whether it is a custom manufactured component or just a standard off-the-shelf piece.

Compatible iOS Devices

The following iOS devices are compatible with the Nomad app:

  • iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone SE
  • iPad Pro 1st generation and 2nd generation (9.7, 10.5 and 12.9 in) and 2017 iPad
  • iPhone 8, iPhone8 Plus and iPhone X
Research teams from Vectorworks have been out demoing Nomad at different public and private events to gauge user reactions and gather useful feedback about Nomad’s AR viewer.

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