A new laser-eyed device that automates the drafting of as-built plans of interior spaces is being trundled out for previews

(Photo courtesy of Activmedia Robotics)

The first generation LaserPlans Data Collector and its software is a product of ActivMedia Robotics LLC, Peterborough, N.H. The debut was scheduled for May 9 at the American Institute of Architects convention in Charlotte, N.C.

"We put the device together, it functions, and now we are going to show it to architects, let them push it around and see what needs to be done," says Jeanne Dietsch, ActivMedia's CEO. Actual product release is set for September.

The data collector scans a plane 5 in. above floor level. It registers the locations of walls and obstructions many times per second with 1-mm accuracy as the unit rolls along. It will pick up glass and fabric such as draperies and will "see around" table legs and locate them as little squares on the floor. But it will not see through bookcases or other large floor-level obstructions, Dietsch says.

The associated LaserPlans software starts with a 1-mm-grid, raster-image map of the space, which can then be converted to a vector file for loading into AutoCAD or edited in its native format. A microphone can place interactive icons on the plans to associate verbal commentary with locations. Digital images can also be linked. Details are at www.activmedia.com.

Dietsch says the units could quickly record layouts of important buildings and then guide humans, or even robots–which the company also makes–in emergency situations. The cost will be $17,995.