Image Courtesy Core studio | Thornton Tomasetti
Output from a hackathon where four people designed different parts of a building.

A collaboration tool that allows multiple authors of a Grasshopper 3D design model to stream geometry to the web in real time is available at no cost by downloading a plug-in. The tool, called Platypus, works like a chat room for parametric geometry and allows on-the-fly 3D model mashups in a browser.

Since Platypus's late-April release, there have been hundreds of downloads from, reports the CORE studio|Thornton Tomasetti (TT), which developed and supports the tool.

Platypus differentiates itself from web-based viewers because it allows real-time design. Any number of remote users can live-stream in their portion of a model and the group can collectively build, manipulate and modify the model together.

"Platypus is not open-source at the moment, but we are considering open-sourcing the code in the future," says Benjamin Howes, senior computational designer for CORE studio.

Platypus was also built to allow presentations of parametric work to less tech-savvy audiences. The tool draws inspiration from modern messaging and media-sharing services, desktop-sharing applications and more. "The idea started as a hunch," says Howes.

To date, TT has invested about 150 hours of work in the alpha version. And TT hosts the cloud server for Platypus.

Platypus now is only integrated with Grasshopper. But integration is possible with most popular authoring applications. "We are keen to extend the platform as far as possible," says Howes.