Founding Principal of Pulse Design Group Passes

It is with great sadness that Pulse Design Group announces the passing of one of the founding Principals, Richard Johnson, AIA, ACHA, CSI. Mr. Johnson passed away on January 13, 2019 after a long battle with Parkinson’s. Richard (or Dick as he was known to friends and family) along with long-time business partner, Don Wilson, founded the Kansas City based architecture firm Wilson Johnson Associates (WJA) in 1980, which was later rebranded as Pulse Design Group. Dick was an active leader in the firm until retiring in 2016 to spend time with his family. Prior to forming WJA, he worked for Hewitt and Royer Architects (later URS Hewitt and Royer), where he mentored numerous young architects and designers, many whom later established Kansas City firms that still exist today.

Dick worked on countless regional and national projects and was licensed in numerous states. During his long career, he worked with many of the hospitals and healthcare organizations in the Kansas City region.

Mr. Johnson attended Kansas State University from 1959 to 1965 where he received his Bachelor of Architecture. He received various industry awards including the 2012 Vista Award by the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) and the American Hospital Association and the 2013 Architect of the Year Award from Kansas City American Subcontractor Association (KCASA).

Dick was a longtime resident of Leawood, Kansas and is survived by his wife, Cathy, and two children, Matt and Laurie. His mentorship and friendship will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Memorial services will be held Thursday, January 17, 2019 at Leawood United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held at 10:30 AM and followed by an 11:00 service.  

SLD Installation at Liberty Hospital

The photo above shows the installation of an SLD (Single Large Diffuser) at Liberty Hospital.

An SLD provides laminar air flow over patients in the operating room. Typically, laminar air flow is provided with multiple diffusers, each with its own ductwork, making the ceiling very crowded. An SLD only has two ducts thus saving space.

This SLD is the first of it’s kind to be installed in the Midwest.

Congrats Catie!

We would like to congratulate Catie Smith on becoming NCIDQ certified! Catie has been at Pulse Design Group for two years as part of our interior design team and we are so proud of her accomplishments!

Catie Smith reduced.jpg

Welcome Travys!

We are excited to welcome Travys Keto to Pulse Design Group! Travys has a background in animation and graphics and will be a great addition to the virtual reality team. We are excited to have him on board!


Big Brothers Big Sisters - Most Wanted Auction 2018

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City hosted it's 13th annual Most Wanted Auction at The Midland Theater. This year’s class of KC’s Most Wanted Honorees auctioned off a wide range of packages with a goal of raising money to help BBBSKC create more life-changing friendships in the Kansas City community. 

We are so proud of our very own Most Wanted Honoree, Catie Smith, who helped raise a record breaking $735,478 for the organization.

Way to go Catie!  


Augmented Reality Building Models for Healthcare

Augmented Reality Building Models for Healthcare

The design industry relies on our ability to communicate design intent. Architects must know how to effectively listen in order to understand the needs, goals, and desires of the proposed project. We take this information and use it to develop 2D drawings and renderings to communicate our understanding of their original project requests. The problem is that we are trying to communicate a complex, 3D, conceptual world using two-dimensional tools.

"Virtual reality is taking over the business world..."

Did you get the chance to catch the Pulse Design Group Virtual Reality Team on KCTV5?

Virtual Reality has the potential to revolutionize how we experience architecture and make real-time decisions that impact the final project. Our team leverages its’ extensive knowledge of healthcare design and planning to create highly realistic and detailed virtual healthcare environments. What began as a simple tool for design has now progressed into the ultimate communication tool. Clients can now fully experience their proposed facilities even before any construction starts.

Check out the story, "Virtual reality is taking over the business world in Kansas City." 

Motion Capture with Unreal 4.18

Motion Capture with Unreal 4.18

A view of the Kinect applying a skeletal rig to a captured actor in real-time.

A view of the Kinect applying a skeletal rig to a captured actor in real-time.

Pulse Design Group’s virtual reality development team is constantly researching new and innovative approaches to create quality, dynamic content. One recent focus has been animation. The current method of producing animation is an inefficient, step-by-step workflow known as “keyframing.” Keyframing utilizes an animator posed model, then adds a keyframe (or point of reference) to the current pose of the model. This method can be tedious for complex and realistic animations. Keyframing has been the industry standard for years, dating back to the film Snow White, which was produced with a form of keyframing. Technology is advancing towards real-time, actor performance capture of motion, or “mocap." Mocap is a huge asset in the animation industry because it streamlines efficiencies, creates realistic, quality work, and can be done in real-time with programs like Unreal or Unity3d.

Several tools can be utilized to get started with mocap, one of which is the HTC Vive. A program called Ikinema can track the Vive's headset and controllers to capture an actor’s performance. There are some limitations as the only tracked points are the actor’s hands and the headset. This Vive tracking method produces smoother captured movements. Motion can also be captured using a Microsoft Kinect. Kinect is a combination of various sensors: a wide-angle time-of-flight camera, infrared sensor and emitter, 1080p video camera, and microphone. This device is capable of tracking the user's heart rate, facial expressions, the weight put on limbs, and position and orientation of 25 individual joints. Kinect, unlike the Ikinema setup with the default configuration of the Vive, is able to track the user's feet in real-time. This can be accomplished with the Vive, but the process requires additional trackers.

Through research and innovative design, we are now able to see how the full body integrates into virtual reality using a Microsoft Kinect. With this early development, we have the ability to integrate this type of motion capture into our existing workflow. After setting up the environment, we were able to get a version of mocap running! The video below is the result of a working mocap version.

Post processing will include smoothing the movements and reducing jitter in real-time to enhance the animation realism. Realistic character movement in virtual reality applications is a crucial step to delivering a wider array of immersive experiences, and this exciting development will lead to further research and design.

For any information and questions, please contact Steve Biegun or Andrew London.  

Congrats to Mary Moore!

Pulse Design Group is proud to announce that Mary Moore has been selected as an Ingram's Kansas City Business Magazine 40UnderForty honoree. Congratulations to all honorees for this prestigious recognition!

Make sure to grab the latest issue of Ingram's Magazine to learn more about all of the recipients. 


Cardinal Health: Improving Sales with Virtual Reality


Cardinal Health: Improving Sales with Virtual Reality

Cardinal Health worked hand-in-hand with Pulse Design Group to launch a new Virtual Reality customer experience for Cardinal Health’s Inventory Management Sales Solution. This exciting new tool is specifically designed to increase sales, shorten the sales cycle, and further position Cardinal Health as an innovative leader in the healthcare industry.


Shawnee Mission Health Hybrid Operating Room Opens to Patients

The Shawnee Mission Health Hybrid Operating Room opened to patients on February 7th.  

The 3,550 square foot surgical space, the largest hybrid operating room in Kansas City, was converted from an outdated clinical area and was designed to enhance patient safety and outcomes. The multidisciplinary space allows healthcare professionals from different specialties to treat patients in the same location.

With the help of virtual reality, Pulse Design Group developed a flexible design for the Shawnee Mission Health Hybrid Operating Room that could be modified in the field to manage the equipment required for an operating room, along with the technology for a radiology room.

Click here for more insight on the Shawnee Mission Health Hybrid Operating Room from MetroWire Media.