Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Technology and Progress in Architecture

By: Sam Miller, Senior Project Manager in the Architecture Department

_MG_0004

 

 

 

 

In architectural practice we may come to believe that every new technology represents an improvement, real or imagined, over work from the past. Common sense suggests this is true without further inquiry, but a more fine grained look into the past and real life work reveals some interesting oppositions to this notion.    One of the tensions within design is the desire to experiment with new materials and building systems to further the artistic and functional potentials of our work.  Choices about materials and technologies used over time is a result of the interaction of skill, location, cost and creativity.  Some technologies are lost due to shifts in how building materials are produced.

Below is a photo of the water fountain in the main lobby of Louis Sullivan’s Peoples Savings & Loan Bank in Sidney, Ohio.

Sam's picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Sam Miller

 

The green material forming the water fountain’s top is glazed terra cotta, popular in the late 19th and early 20th Century.  For ornamental detail, the material was perfect for a designer like Sullivan.  However, times have changed.  The use of terra cotta now is almost non-existent save for a small number of historical restorations in any given year and only a few manufacturers remain. The material is very expensive, only used sparingly, if at all, by designers.

Many ancient materials remain in continuous use today and have been improved via technology. Brick is an example:  current use of brick is ubiquitous in modern construction and the material effectively comes in nearly unlimited color, texture and size.  Also, materials are adapted to mimic others and provide superior durability at often lower cost.  For example, architectural precast concrete sometimes takes the place of limestone.  Precast concrete is often touted for greater durability and lower price.  The size of pieces needed, size of structure, detail, and lead time play into the design team’s choices as well.

The question we often ask ourselves in day to day practice is: How does a particular technology improve what we do? There’s movement across the entire spectrum of building materials, a relentless development of more, newer, better.  This is not always the case.  A well-made, durable material always remains just that.  And, like it or not, there’s almost inevitably a close correlation between quality and cost.  Broader questions push the design professional into thinking about quality in a broad context:  what does this do for my client?  How does it represent her institution or brand?  How does a material or system choice support the broad goals of a design concept, the needs of a community?

More often than not a single theme or organizing idea emerges from our design reveries. We discover resonance in an idea we choose to present to the client.  This is where the rubber meets the road:  If the client is pleased, the pieces begin to fall into place.  The process is seldom neat, but the steady collection of form and substance around a good design theme with a balance between technology, old or new, and respect for the financial boundaries of a client yields results that get built.  At a minimum we hope our clients are delighted.  In a larger context, if our work serves our clients and the broad public comes to appreciate the value of quality design, the results point to the thoughtful use of various technologies.  The evolution of building materials is fascinating, a continuing cycle of slow advancement in some cases and explosive innovation in others.

Imagine a doctor being called into emergency surgery. As they rush to the operating room, with a few voice commands, they are able to see the patient’s prep status, access the patient’s vitals, view the injury and view the pre-surgery check list all while in route to the OR. With Google Glass, this is possible. Technologically advanced doctors are able to do all of this through Google’s eye.

What is Google Glass?

Google Glass, in essence, is eyewear that has all of the capabilities of a smartphone. Information can be accessed through voice or touch. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, email access and a notepad for verbal notes and reminders. A built in camera also allows the wearer to transmit photos and video to anyone, anywhere.

How can Google Glass be used in Healthcare?

Google Glass allows healthcare professionals to view, disperse and collect information quickly in a hands-free manner without the restrictions of desktop computers, laptops or tablets.

Google Glass has been tested mostly in OR situations. This device gives doctors the ability to focus solely on their patient. They do not have to look away from their patient to view vitals, x-rays or any other patient information. All of the information they may need is available at a glance.

Doctors also have the option to consult with other doctors who are not present in the OR in real time. The consulting doctor will be able to see the procedure from the performing doctor’s point-of-view. Procedures can also be recorded for future educational use.

Even after the surgery is complete, doctors have the ability to view their patient in the recovery room and track their progress.

What are the drawbacks of using Google Glass?

With any new technology, there are benefits and drawbacks. One concern is the privacy of patient information. Because Google Glass can access patient information through touch or voice, there is a concern that anyone who picks up the eyewear will have access to private patient information. Also, there is a possibility that pictures and video can be taken without patient consent.

Also, the fact that Google Glass information can be accessed by touch, raises infection control concerns. If unsterile eyewear is touched during a procedure, everything touched after that is compromised.

Futuristic?

Technological advances are quickly changing the way healthcare is provided. Healthcare providers are always on the lookout for ways to offer patients the best care possible. With Google Glass being in its infancy, there are still questions surrounding the security of patient records and the advantages of using this technology. The cost associated integrating Google Glass is also a major concern. Over time, Google will continue to work to perfect the use of Google Glass in Healthcare. Seeing patient care through Google’s view may not be as futuristic as one may think.

 

Written By:  Shawnita Washington

Many people have heard the terms 3D laser scanning, 3D Surveying, or High Definition Surveying, but exactly what do those terms mean?  Do they mean the same thing?  What is it all about?  Is it magic?  Smoke and mirrors?  Not exactly.  Indeed, mirrors are involved, but this is definitely no illusion.  To me, all of the above terms can be used to describe the same cutting edge surveying technique.  Throughout this blog I’ll refer to the term High Definition Surveying (HDS).

Continue Reading