University of Colorado, Boulder

To create a 3D map of the "Microbially Visible Home" that includes both architectural components and microbial data

  • Amount $187,237
  • City Boulder, CO
  • Investigator Robin Knight
  • Year 2012
  • Program Science
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

This grant to architect Rob Van Pelt and biologist Rob Knight will support a one-year project to create a "proof of concept" detailed 3D map of the "Microbially Visible Home." This map will include both the architectural components and microbial data of a single house and will bring together building scientists, software developers, and microbiologists to create an easily interpretable and visual 3D model. Partnering with Autodesk, a world leader in 3D design software for manufacturing, buildings, construction, engineering, and entertainment, Van Pelt, Knight and their team will conduct dense sampling of homes near Toronto, collecting and analyzing nearly 1,000 samples for bacteria and fungi and using this data to build a biological data layer on top of Autodesk's Building Information Model, a computable representation of a facility that integrates a wide range of building features and functions, including architectural characteristics, materials, relationships, sensor data, and performance metrics. The result will be the creation of a detailed 3D building map with both the architectural components and the microbial data. It will make the invisible microbial world of one home visible. This new tool will help scientists develop exploratory hypotheses about why microbes live in the locations that they do.

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