Friday, November 15, 2013

TTX: Interoperability Across Multiple Platforms from a Central Database, Including Autodesk Revit and Grasshopper

From the Thorton Tomasetti blog...  

Announcing TTX

April 15, 2013

The Advanced Computational Modeling group (ACM) is developing a new interoperability platform called TTX.  Interoperability is at the core of ACM’s work, and has long been recognized within Thornton Tomasetti as an imperative goal.  In 1990 Charlie Thornton said “We now have to zero in on the key issue, the Achilles heel of [structural] computer programs … compatibility”.

With TTX, all critical project data is moved into a central database, and read/write/sync capabilities are provided across a number of software applications. TTX allows project team members to focus on their respective specialties in the platform of their choice.  Concerns about model synchronization, our long standing ‘compatibility’ issue, are allowed to fade into the background.

So far Grasshopper, Revit and Tekla are all talking to each other via TTX.

TTX Alpha Release

September 5, 2013

ACM is proud to announce that TTX, our new interoperability platform, is in the wild. We’ve released a series of alpha builds for our designers and engineers to use in-house, and have received great feedback from our first round of testers.

One noteworthy test featured a stadium model in Rhino, which had more than 10,000 structural members, that needed to be translated into Revit and Tekla. TTX successfully ported all data into Revit and Tekla. Translation times varied, however, due to API and general application performance (we’re looking at you here, Revit).

The TTX development team will continue to progress the platform over the coming months. We are hard at work on our first beta release, which should roll out for internal testing in late September. A major component of that release is support for SAP2000, a structural analysis package.

I've seen several implementations of connecting Grasshopper to Revit, including Chameleon and Project Humminbird. The last architecture firm I worked for, LMN, even developed their own, through their LMN Tech Studio, named Cricket. (Though never actualized as a product, I think LMN still wins for best Grasshopper/Revit-related app name.)

The Advanced Computational Modeling group's strategy of connecting multiple platforms through a central database, allowing designers to use their preferred or task-appropriate platform, is the first holistic approach to building design platform interchangeability I've seen. For that reason, I'm happy to award ACM at Thorton Tomasetti a Revit Add-ons Editor's Choice Award!

Stay tuned to the Thorton Tomasetti blog for more information as it becomes available.

Further reading: Grasshopper-related add-ins. 

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