The Re/Cap – Issue #7: Single-Photon LiDAR + Videogrammetry + Microsoft/Hexagon

It’s Re/Cappin’ day Re/Cappers! And it brings a heavy dose of digital twin, which itself brings an unusual timeline of nomenclature and iteration.

Many of you may know Dr. Michael Grieves as the originator of the digital twin concept in 2002. But did you know NASA was on to studying on-earth twins (albeit non-digital) for their beyond-earth crafts…in the 1960s?

No typo! I mean, whodathunk that the idea at its innermost core is… sort of a baby boomer; NASA had full-blown replicas undergoing full-blown simulation, probably down the street from a Woolworth’s and a Studebaker dealership!

Ah, tech trajectories, just endlessly fascinating. Scan Dr. Grieves’ 40 publications here, listen to him on the RCN podcast here, and review the roadmap for human body digital twins here.

What’s Cappenin’ This Week: Doubling down on single-photon LiDAR, Hexagon & Microsoft manufacture new manufacturing, a future of videogrammetry, digital twin-infused metrology, and a catastrophic AEC Error of the Week that highlights reality capture’s importance in fire prevention & management.

Last week on feet scanning, geospatial for natural capital, gov’ment grants for semiconductor metrology, photogrammetry goes overdrive underground, and an AEC Error of the Week covering an infamous 1980s explosion.

High Res, Low Power, New Era? Single-Photon LiDAR May Soon Explode

Six centimeter resolution.
From 1.5 kilometers.
Via one photon. 

So much efficiency! What’s next, clothes washed and dried simultaneously?!
Single-photon renderings. Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province.
Single-photon renderings. Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province. Image credit Interesting Engineering.
And it’s happening and improving rapidly, thanks to some trailblazing researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). Crew chieftain and publisher extraordinaire Feihu Xu details how “a key part of the new system is the special scanning mirrors that perform continuous fine scanning, capturing sub-pixel information of the ground targets.”

Get the whole LiDAR lowdown courtesy of Interesting Engineering below, or settle for a short video of the renderings.

Head in the Cloud: Hexagon/Microsoft Collab a Sea Change for Manufacturing

The operative word for this titanic teaming isn’t really technology, cloud, or digital twin.

It’s collaboration, across the entire manufacturing value chain by employing those very tools.
Integration of Hexagon’s Nexus platform into Teams.
Integration of Hexagon’s Nexus platform into Teams. Image credit Hexagon.
There are more facets to this venture than requests from Clippy to help (RIP), but chief among them is utilizing digital twins to accelerate product innovation. Of course, when this acceleration is complemented by increased cloud compute and collaborative tasking, in will come a glorious ripple effect for all that tricky nuance within manufacturing.

Let Hexagon themselves give you the skinny on it all;

Sites, Camera, Action! The Warp-Speed Potential of Videogrammetry

Videogrammetry ain’t new, but it’s still playing second fiddle to its photo-based sibling.
Land surveyor on site with a RTK-equipped smartphone.
He’s just daring you to say that smartphone & real-time kinematic combo is not the coolest thing since Elvis. Image credit GIM International.
While it won’t replace photogrammetry, it’s another growing augmentation for construction & engineering professionals. Simplicity is the defining trait, as standard smartphones with the right RTK rig can suffice for a bounty of projects. But that’s the tip of the iceberg, as GIM International unveils below via case studies, best practices, hardware talk, and more.

Red-Handed in Real-Time: Catching Defects Thanks to Digital Twins in Metrology

Traditional QC in manufacturing processes has often been too little or too late, sometimes both.
Manufacturing process digital twin model
Naturally, this has made digital twins’ entry into the space a welcome development. Photonics Online explains how, dissecting six reasons digital twin-fueled metrology is modernizing manufacturing QC; but not before citing some gnarly digital twin use cases, and alluding to some mythic “Internet of Sustainable Production.” Far out!


London’s Grenfell Tower
London’s Grenfell Tower, the United Kingdom’s worst residential fire since World War II. Image credit Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard.
ACM = aluminum composite material, a combustible product linked to several significant high-rise fires, including London’s Grenfell Tower in 2017.

With dozens of fatalities and over 200 injuries, the inferno drew headlines – and suspicion – for good reason. Although a direct cause for the intensity of the fire hasn’t reached a consensus, what has is that something went awfully awry. Reality capture and digital twins may not have prevented the flames in their entirety, but at bare minimum, they could have bolstered hazard awareness and preventative measures, not to mention emergency response.

For more on technology’s promise in fire management, don’t miss Episode 58 of the RCN Podcast with Fireline Solutions founder Josh Wilkins.

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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