Reports via GLOBES News from Google X , the company’s secret development unit, (the unit responsible for driverless cars and Google Glass) provides exciting but tantalising news of a new construction technology, known as Genie. Google X’s construction technology project had a budget of $5 million.
Genie is described as a ‘platform with online-based planning applications to help architects and engineers in the design process, especially for skyscrapers and large buildings. The platform includes planning tools of expert architects and engineers and advance analytics and simulation tools. Genie standardises and automates the design and construction processes with unlimited design options, enabling an architect to preserve the building’s uniqueness in the urban environment’
And, not surprisingly given Googles interest and activity in sustainability and healthy buildings, ‘Genie was presented as a revolutionary technology for the construction of sustainable and environmentally-friendly buildings of a quality never before known’ (Google fund healthy construction product programmes in the US and are reportedly looking to use the Living Building Challenge Red List material approach on the new London project)
Linking the transparency of construction products into BIM objects, (or Genie objects?) giving more information for selecting healthy, responsible materials seems a likely approach in a left field shake up for construction as ‘a technology that will change the conservative global construction industry through a fundamental and revolutionary change in how buildings are designed, built, and maintained’
And … with big ambitions
Genie could save 30-50% in prevailing construction costs and shorten the time from the start of planning to market by 30-60%.
Not all of Googles projects make it mainstream or survive (think Google Wave) but success Google platforms rapidly gain mass take up (from search to Chrome browser to Google+) and with the global built environment looking for a solution that is perhaps more accessible, more collaborative and at lower cost than BIM, Genie could be a game changer, or even a sector changer.
And where else is there an innovation project with a budget of $5million to address the economic and sustainability failings of the built environment.
One to follow very closely, but it would appear the Genie has been released from a BIM bottle.