Siri for BIM 360? Voice 360 App Gives Architects a Voice
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on January 08, 2018 | | 3831 views

Anyone who’s familiar with Siri is probably also disappointed with it (no offense, Siri). While the Apple assistant can pull up Google searches or tell you the weather, the functionality is lacking. Other “intelligent personal assistants” are only a bit smarter, with Google Assistant actually capable of reading Google search answers aloud and Alexa able to order some groceries for you. Whether or not you intended to order them is another topic.

Voice 360 makes it possible to explore the model tree, collapse and explode models, rotate and pan cameras and more. (Image courtesy of ProtoTech Solutions.)
Voice 360 makes it possible to explore the model tree, collapse and explode models, rotate and pan cameras and more. (Image courtesy of ProtoTech Solutions.)

The point is that voice control software is a long way from achieving true functionality. If a smartphone app can’t be trusted to work properly, what does this mean for tools with true professional functionality?

ProtoTech Solutions, from Pune, India, is making progress on this front with a voice control app designed specifically for Autodesk’s BIM 360 cloud platform. After previously winning hackathon awards for Fusion 360 apps three years in a row, the firm has developed Voice 360, which uses speech recognition to execute commands in Forge Viewer.

Starting at about minute 2:30 in the video below, you can see Voice 360 used to execute a variety of commands that can include:

  • Show/Hide for displaying elements within a model tree, layers and other elements;
  • Explode/Collapse, which assembles or disassembles a model;
  • Isolate “Part Name” to separate and zoom fit a particular part of a model in the viewer;
  • Select “Part Name” to select and highlight a portion of a model;
  • Set View to orient the camera to view a model from a specific angle and
  • Move/Pan, which pans the camera in a specific direction.

So, what good is voice control for viewing building information modeling (BIM)and, potentially, other CAD models? Aside from the potential to possibly streamline one’s workflow while giving a presentation, freeing up hands to perform other actions, this may also be the foundation for future applications.

With a tool like Voice 360 integrated into other apps with greater functionality, it could take the place of something like the Microsoft Surface Dial, which gives designers the ability to perform auxiliary actions with the left hand. Imagine commanding your software to switch tools more quickly than your hands know how to move. This could potentially speed up one’s design process significantly.

Perhaps more immediate and more important than more efficient designing is the help something like Voice 360 could provide for the disabled community. A user with limited control over their limbs, but sufficient control over their voice, could begin working on BIM projects in ways previously not possible. For now, with Voice 360 in particular, it would be possible for them to explode or rotate models. In the future, when tools like this are further developed, it’s not difficult to picture entire modeling commands performed by voice.

To learn more about Voice 360 and ProtoTech Solutions, visit the company website.

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