NVIDIA’s New Holodeck Caters to AEC Professionals

The newest release of Holodeck includes several improvements that make it easier to use the software to design buildings.

A still from NVIDIA’s advertisement for the latest release of its VR collaboration platform, Holodeck. (Image courtesy of NVIDIA.)

A still from NVIDIA’s advertisement for the latest release of its VR collaboration platform, Holodeck. (Image courtesy of NVIDIA.)

This week, NVIDIA released the latest edition of NVIDIA Holodeck, a collaborative virtual reality (VR) platform.

Holodeck (yes, named after that holodeck) is a VR environment that lets people collaborate on product design, putting them “in the same room” to look at and change designs, even when they’re on different sides of the world. In this VR environment, your co-collaborators show up as little bots with Daft Punk-like faces, so it’s easy to see where they are and what changes they are making to the model.

The tool has become popular among engineers, architects and construction professionals looking to visualize buildings, so the newest version of Holodeck includes features explicitly designed for them.

One of these features is Holotable (pictured above), a podium that lets you view scale models. The table also lets you toggle through the layers of models made in Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, providing a closer and more accurate look inside of buildings. And, on the more aesthetic side, designers can play with light and shadow, changing the way these elements fall to simulate how their designs might look at different times of day (or night).

The new Holotable feature also makes it easier to navigate around models, and includes the option of teleporting to different floors and elevations, enabling you to set up “beacons” you can automatically teleport to in order to easily find points of interest. Both of these factors make it easier to navigate around buildings, especially large, multilevel buildings.

NVIDIA has also released improvements to its design and collaboration tools. Now, material library palettes can be edited, saved and reassigned, making it easier for designers to start up a new session. The whiteboard, drawing and measurement tools have been tweaked for better accuracy and usability, users can access the Internet from within Holodeck, and it’s now possible to take videos or 360-degree images of a model. And for people wanting a private experience, you can now password-protect your sessions to ensure that there are no unwanted visitors.

Finally, users can import Dassault Systèmes’ SOLIDWORKS Visualize models (with the 2019 beta) and AEC’s larger footprint models to eliminate the need to recreate previously completed work.

The new Holodeck will be on display August 12-16 at the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, Canada. For the display, NVIDIA has partnered with architecture, engineering and design firm CannonDesign, to showcase how the firm uses Holodeck to let clients and designers meet inside of the digital model.

“NVIDIA Holodeck breaks down distance barriers, bringing people together from anywhere in the world in a single virtual space to talk, sketch and visualize together without ever boarding a plane or even leaving the office,” said Hilda Espinal, chief technology officer at CannonDesign, in a NVIDIA press release. “Holodeck significantly enhances virtual collaboration and strengthens both the design process and the outcomes it generates.”