Prime Computer (UK) Ltd is touting the new release of its Medusa computer-aided design package as a computer integrated construction system with a core database at its heart. It is designed to minimise costly on-site mistakes by enabling engineers or architects to perfect prototypes on a desk-top. The system can be used for identifying complex structural flaws in proposed buildings through colour-coded three dimensional graphics or for altering simple architectural blueprints for private houses. A builder with this equipment can decide with a client where, say, a door should be moved to. They could draw in the suggested change and the alterations would be related to the database, adding associated components such as hinges, locks or bolts. Manufacturing codes are entered into an order package as the drawings are changed, which means that the delivery of the items on-site will be exact and relevant. All this can be done on a Prime 2450 mini which sells for around UKP100,000, although prices vary considerably because of the permutations of the package. A user could, for example, buy the Prime Design interactive modelling/visualisation system. The company claims that the time and man-power saved by Prime 2450 can be dramatic; a house plan which may take over a week to design manually could take only one day with the Medusa package, and Prime’s machines will require only one person to execute a project which may take four people to do by hand. Essentially the design is very modular, which means that it has an integrated database and is very fast, something Prime says rival Intergraph’s IEMS, which, claims Prime, has a slower interface, will have to match. Another competitor is the DOGS system from Pafec Ltd in Nottingham. Despite having good powermetrics and the ability to draw, it cannot integrate or even monitor client jobs, chides Prime. Following the acquisition of ComputerVision Corp at the turn of the year, Natick, Massachusetts-based Prime plans to integrate the two previously competing versions of Medusa, which have minor differences in data structure, into a single unified version. The data formats of the two packages will be modified and the intention is to use the ComputerVision product as the base for the new Medusa, though the integrated version will not be very different from either, as Prime now has 3,000 users worldwide that it daren’t upset.