Easter eggs

Daniel Davis – 1 April 2010

This easter, a look at some of the latest developments in Rhino, ubiMash, and Generative Components

New Animals in the Rhino zoo

I have recently been playing around with creating plugins in Rhino and have been amazed at how accommodating it is to developers. Much like Apple, Facebook and Twitter, by making it easy for developers to access their system, developers have contributed a number of apps that extend the functionality Rhino. Grasshopper recently allowed developers to write plugins and the first round of new plugins/animals all look pretty exciting:

  • Rabbit generates cellular automata systems, L-systems and LOGO. I found the components a bit hard to understand, but there are some really impressive demo definitions  included in the download.
  • Kangaroo (shown above). Tectonics has long been touted as a way to recover from our post-modern hangover. However tectonics requires cumbersome and complex equations, which makes it difficult to use in the early generative stage of a project (see Digital Tectonics). Kangaroo appears to remove these barriers and makes it easy to integrate tectonics as a design driver. Kangaroo is currently still in development, but to me this looks like the realisation of the long discussed digital tectonics.
  • Firefly links into Arduino allowing you to use sensors to drive parametric models. And as we saw in Smart Geometry 2010 this opens up a range of interesting developments…

Smart Geometry 2010 / ubiMash

This is one of the workshops from the Smart Geometry 2010 in Barcelona. All the work is based on an open source framework called Ubimash, which was released just prior to Smart Geometry 2010. Ubimash links Generative Components with Arduino, Wii and other physical inputs. A few years ago this making project like this would have been a thesis, but with libraries like Ubimash these projects were all done in just four days.

Generative Components is now free

Also coming out of Smart Geometry, Bentley lowered the price on Generative Components to free and released a version that runs without Microstation. I hope this is not an indication that Bentley has given up on GC, which has been floundering since Robert Aish’s departure. Competing on price doesn’t seem innovative enough to stay in the market; I wish they were competing on features. Anyway I am sure no one is complaining about picking up a free copy of Generative Components here

8 July 2010: The earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Generative Components runs without Microstation. Thank you to Mark at parametricconcepts.com for catching this error.

25 August 2010: Turns out Generative Components does run without Microstation, just Bentley Technical support were not aware of it back in July. Thanks again to Mark for keeping upto date on this one.