Building TV has been experimenting with a pole-mounted 360° camera that was designed for the US military but could be extremely handy for construction types.

A groundbreaking technology designed for the US military is about to be unveiled in the unlikely surroundings of the RIBA Conference in Paris.

The wonderfully named Telemmersion system uses a spherical camera with 11 lenses to record a 360° view of the world. It has been used on Humvees to enable soldiers to check dangerous streets without exposing themselves to snipers, and the US navy is considering it as a replacement for periscopes.

But UK provider TX Immersive (TXi) reckons that the technology has numerous uses in the construction industry. In collaboration with Building, TXi recently recorded two venues in Paris – Jean Nouvel’s Musée du Quai Branly and the newly opened Cité de l’Architecture et Patrimoine – to showcase to the RIBA just what the technology can do.

The videos offer a 360° view of the buildings’ exterior and interior, and the viewpoint can be controlled via the web. It’s similar to the panoramic views offered on hotel websites, except the viewer is not restricted to looking left and right.

The operator captures the images with a camera positioned over his head on the top of a pole. It is controlled using a Gameboy-type device, and the camera viewfinder is fitted into a special pair of glasses worn by the operator.

The 360° videos can be integrated with floor plans so users can quickly move around a building. But the really clever thing is that the system can plot positions, since there are three cameras capturing every point. This means, for instance, that planners could study the impact of a new building in its environment by dropping a CAD image of the proposed development into a real 3D view created by TXi. The impact of street furniture and lampposts could also be assessed.

A new look at Jean Nouvel …
A new look at Jean Nouvel …