The Re/Cap – Issue #2: Celestial Digital Twin + LiDAR Hacking + Drone Disaster Relief

Welcome Re/Cappers! If last week you missed this rocketship of intel blast off, you’re now a part of a rapid-fire, richly-flavored reality capture newsletter. Though, it may detour into adjacent tech; you never know when robot butlers or the metaverse will have their Chat-GPT moment.

Subscribe to stay informed, work smarter, enrich your community, and learn about an AEC Error of the Week which reality capture would have totally mitigated or saved outright. And if you chuckle once or twice, great. If not, what do we look like, Adam Sandler Productions?

Last week’s inaugural Re/CAP on the Digital Twin Consortium, scanning for African-American historic preservation, reality capture in auto manufacturing, health care lovin’ them some VR, and a Boston-themed AEC Error of the Week from the early aughts that cost about the equivalent of 3,000,000,000 bowls of chowda’.

This week: A celestial digital twin, an AI-driven Q-camera for hyperspeed reality capture, drones diminishing natural disasters, hack potential in autonomous vehicle LiDAR, and an infamous, Far-East AEC Error of the Week.

Pretty Much the Biggest Digital Twin Ever

Weather-related disasters are increasing, so The European Space Agency just funded something that ten years ago would’ve sounded like a sci-fi film plot; the creation of Earth’s digital twin.
What a time to be alive. Image credit SingularityHub.
Obviously, creating a high-res model of our entire planet is a herculean effort, so baby steps are being taken. The first targeted region is the Mediterranean Basin and its “terrestrial water cycle.” With the two-fold vision of monitoring the global water supply and simulating natural disasters, lead scientist & author Luca Brocca of Italy hopes to “provide invaluable insights for sustainable water management and disaster resilience.”

Hear From the Startup Behind the AI-Driven Camera That’s Obliterating Capture Time

Augmenting an already dazzling proprietary camera with computer vision, GPS, and artificial intelligence is like adding a jetpack to Michael Jordan’s back. And that’s precisely what San Diego-based startup Looq AI recently did for the surveyors, engineers, contractors, and asset owners.
Looq AI co-founders Dominique Meyer (left) & Shreyas Niradi (right) with their powerhouse AI-driven camera. Image credit Looq AI.
By unifying their novel platform with their signature Q-camera, Looq AI has empowered professionals to capture infrastructure with unprecedented speed and accuracy, instead of one or the other. You can thank the survey-grade GPS, AI processor, four pristine-resolution cameras that comprise the Q-cam, and the boundless intelligence of its platform’s digital twins.

Linked below is AEC Magazine’s conversation with co-founder/CEO Dominique Meyer, PhD., on algorithmic processing, geometric awareness, resolution, accuracy comparisons, and much more.

LiDAR Hacking Autonomous Vehicles?

Many of us love the fidelity, the majesty, of LiDAR. When it comes to self-driving cars, hackers do too. 
We don’t want this motley crew doing our driving for us via LiDAR. Image credit LinkedIn.
After extensive testing, researchers at The University of California Irvine have sounded alarms on “laser spoofing” in autonomous vehicles. Consequences could range from unintended emergency stops & swerves, to a full-blown hack-a-thon that would leave the LiDAR sensors…not sensing. Better found now than after widespread adoption though!

Drone Photogrammetry for Disaster Response

Is there a more meaningful purpose for new technologies than to enhance livelihood?
Hurricane Fiona devastated the Dominican Republic in 2022. Image credit The New York Times.
In 2022, Hurricane Fiona was the first of its class to register a direct impact on the Dominican Republic in 18 years. In response to the severe aftermath in the country, the United Nations collaborated with several agencies to ease housing and livelihood burdens, and bolster community resilience to future disasters. Two secret weapons in the undertaking? Drones and surveying.


Would our energy sourcing and supply differ, had the Chernobyl disaster not occurred and rightfully caused trepidation? Image credit Igor Kostin/Laski Diffusion/Getty Images
A general misconception – along with the superb MAX miniseries Chernobyl – would have you believe the eponymous disaster of 1986 was due solely to human error. While negligence and misguided decisions were factors, the flawed reactor design was really the spark that became the flame.

Would reality capture have guaranteed a meltdown-free existence for the infamous Ukrainian facility? One can’t know. But one can know that the pernicious problems would have been more evident, and therefore, more urgent.

Mini Re/Caps, Podcasts, and Media

Happy capturing, and we’ll see you in next week’s Re/Cap! If you liked what you just read, a share will do the industry a built-world of good! 

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