Gone are the days when architects needed to rely on tape measures, or even laser scanning devices, to take measurements of a space and create a digital 3D model. A leapfrog came in June 2022 when Apple unveiled RoomPlan, an expansion to its ARKit 2.0 augmented reality feature for iPhones and iPads that uses the camera and LiDAR scanner to create a 3D version of a room. At an Apple Event yesterday, alongside its new lineup of phones and updates to iOS, Apple announced upgrades to RoomPlan. When the latest operating system launches on September 18, it will integrate with Trace, an existing modeling and drafting app from Morpholio that simplifies the process for architects designing and laying out spaces.
With Trace, designers can start a new project with a RoomPlan scan and then sketch ideas directly on the digital model. They can also scale, set perspectives, and set solar positions to determine the location of shadows within the space. The app was conceived by Morpholio, a company led by four architects who were looking for ways to simplify the design process using mobile devices.
“This is the fastest ‘scan to plan’ experience ever made available,” said Mark Collins, a cofounder of Morpholio. “Gone are the days of laborious measurements, reconstructed in CAD only to find missing data and inconsistencies.”
Updates to RoomPlan rolling out when iOS 17 launches include improved LiDAR scanning which allows for multiroom composite scans to render an entire building, as well as recognition of more complex architectural elements, such as sloped beams and ceilings.
To use Trace, users scan the room around them with either an iPad or iPhone equipped with LiDAR and iOS 17. After, within Trace, the scan will be viewable as a 3D model. Users can work on a single room or scan several interiors that can all function within one model. Users can start sketching in furniture or jotting down notes in the model which can be viewed as a traditional floor plan, in perspective, as an elevation or as axon.
The app automatically sets the scale for elevations and plans and features perspective grids, as found in traditional computer-aided design softwares.
“Putting design first, Trace has always championed hand drawing paired with digital tools like RoomPlan that allow creators to interact with the world they are shaping in efficient and intuitive ways,” said Toru Hasegawa, co-creator of Morpholio.