Augmented Reality Building: The Future of the Industry?

Using Augmented Reality in building and construction is one of the top revolutionary innovations across the industry along with prefabricated or modular construction and technological integrations in the supply chain.

It is projected that in 2022, the distribution of augmented and mixed reality market will grow to 14% in the engineering industry and 7% in real estate.

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that adds digital information layers to physical environments using sounds, videos or graphics. One example of AR technology would be the popular mobile game Pokémon Go. The game combines Global Positioning System (GPS) and AR, to find, capture, battle, and train virtual characters, called Pokémon as if the creatures are in the player’s physical location. The same principle can be applied to building and construction. In the planning process, architects, designers, builders, engineers and project managers can simply use a device to project a building plan or a 3D model of a physical space and discuss details with a remarkably accurate visual tool.

AR in the palm of our hands

In 2018, it is estimated that there will be 24 Million Device sales on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, a far cry from its roots in 1968 when Ivan Sutherland first developed the first head-mounted display system. Sutherland’s device showed simple computer-generated wireframe drawings onto the headgear. Fast forward to the present era, AR is now available in the palm of our hands using mobile phones and tablets, smart glasses, smart helmets and more.

Big names in tech, Apple, Google, Facebook and Snap have their sights set on smartphone-based AR platforms while Microsoft joins Meta, ODG, Mira and DAQRI in the AR headset sphere.

An example of AR using smartphone  is CityViewAR by the University of Canterbury. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2010, the AR application enabled city planners and engineers to visualize buildings that were destroyed in the calamity. The app also provided building histories and photographs from the City Council and Historic Places Trust while 3D models of key city buildings were provided by architect Jason Mizz of ZNO.

Augmented Reality is also crucial for training and assistance especially in the remote field or mining industry. CSIRO developed the ReMoTe wearable technology that connects specialists with on-site operatives to give real-time support from anywhere in the world with stable internet connection. Experts can demonstrate tasks from their helper station enabling the trainees to see hand gestures and hear instructions at the same time through the helmet-mounted camera and a near-eye display.

Apart from its benefits in communication, instructors can send documents to the trainees through the workspace and add annotations that are viewable in real time. The device reduces servicing costs and operational downtime and on-site mistakes. ReMoTe also increases standards conformance, safety and knowledge sharing within the construction site.

Augmented Reality building is a constantly growing practice with better software and devices made available every year. More contractors, developers and designers are reaping the benefits in their work processes, design, safety and other facets of the industry.

Augmented Reality at DesignBUILD

We are embracing the emergence of AR at DesignBUILD and are looking to expand our representation of software and technology solutions for the construction industry. If you are working on an AR product that you want to launch in Australia, contact the team today to discuss opportunities to reach construction professionals with buying power.

About the Author: Spec-Net

This article was first published by DesignBUILD Media Partner, Spec-Net. The Spec-Net Building Directory commenced in 1994 and since then their news portal has grown to attract over 10 million visitors per annum. Their audience demographics are architects, designers, engineers, contractors, building companies, building manufacturers both commercial and domestic.

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