Case Study: WholeTrees
WholeTrees needed a system to process the three dimensional representations they use to assess structural characteristics of small diameter whole round timbers (SDRT). With an eye toward the promising future of this innovative company, Earthling built an analysis engine and inventory system that can scale to analyze thousands of timbers a day.
Scale Process to Meet Growing Demand
WholeTrees is an innovative structural design company that uses whole-timber trees in commercial and residential construction. Their signature technique involves using small diameter whole round timbers (SDRT) sourced from the waste stream of forest management projects.
Early successes generated substantial interest among builders and architects, but WholeTrees needed to secure funding to help them establish workflow processes that could scale to meet anticipated demand. They asked Earthling to partner on a successful Small Business Innovation Research grant to fund feasibility research for automating the materials assessment process.
Build a Custom Analysis Engine
WholeTrees was looking for an efficient way to capture and use 3d representations of individual trees to assess their suitability for particular projects. They approached Earthling to collaborate on the design and development of an application to automate the assessment process.
Earthling developed an analysis engine to determine key engineering metrics from the 3d models. The metrics were then used by structural engineers to estimate load bearing capacity of untested branched timbers. Although currently only used for internal purposes, the resulting system is designed to be scalable to analyzing thousands of timbers. By taking advantage of a distributed architecture in Amazon AWS, the engine can scale to meet the demands of a commercial workload.
Earthling’s strengths in understanding engineering and earth science systems, ability to write code to handle complex geometric calculations, and ability to architect distributed processing systems meant that we were uniquely positioned to assist on this ground-breaking project.
The SDRT analysis engine has proven to be an essential tool as WholeTrees begins to scale its operation to supplying trees for building operations around the country. From winning a national innovation contest to securing their first significant round of venture capital financing, WholeTrees is proving to be a leader in sustainable design that is both ecologically and financially successful.