Sketchbased Tool for Architects

Sketchbased Tool for Architects

Problem:
Although architects use computer systems like CAD in the later stages of the design process the first strokes and sketches are usually made by hand. How should a intuitive stylus-based tool be designed to assist the architect with its computing power and stroke recognition capabilites in this very early design phases to reduce the manual transformation from handmade sketches to discrete CAD data?

Approach:
An in-dept analysis of the sketch and its function within the problem solving process needed to be done in the beginning. Further existing sketchbased systems on the market which just resembled a simple pen and paper functionality (without any artificial inteligence for recognizing and interpreting sketches) were tested in a usability test series. The test persons had also to use a simple vector based 3D modeling tool in the first stage of the design process to start developing their design ideas. Afterwards the actual state of research in this area was explored.

Findings:
The design process starts typically with an ill-structured problem with high ambiguity. This ambiguity is necessary for human creativity to take action, because it makes it possible to trigger „accidentally“ new ways of recognizing and interpreting the imagery. But this ambiguty is a problem for computers which always need discrete data. On the other hand is too much discreteness in this phase blocking the creative human problem solving process. In the ongoing design process patterns occur while the problem is transformed from ill-structured to well-structured with its appropriate solution(s). These patterns can be learned, recognized and processed by a computer which then can be used to support this process.