Simply put, augmented reality is something that helps convert the information in your surrounding into a real-like environment. It has apparently brought about some huge changes already in some other industries, and many believe that the construction industry is going to be one of them soon as well.
However, the construction industry has probably been one of the least automated ones so far. But if some of the recent trends are anything to go by, that might change pretty soon.
In fact, a good few construction companies have already been using augmented reality to come up with better construction plans and save themselves from potential losses. For instance, John Myers, senior manager at Gilbane, recently used an augmented-reality computer to get an idea of how the project would look like when it’s completed.
And he found that the steel frames that were to be used in the construction were a bit too long for the design. This helped the company deal with the issue well ahead of time, and now they can simply ask the supplier to cut short the frames in their shop rather than making their workers do it. This has helped save an estimated $5,000 for the company, though the real benefits construction companies can get out of this technology may turn out to be way more valuable.
The augmented technology usually involves the use of 3D models of the project’s plan to provide a reasonably accurate visualization of the plan onto an existing space. While traditionally, augmented-reality computers have been used for the task, mobile apps, too, are getting very common nowadays.
A particular mobile app known as SmartReality allows users using an iOS or Android smartphone to get an “unprecedented level of visualization” of their building model. It charges them a fee per project.
The process involves uploading 2D models of the product’s plan to the app, and the app’s team works on them to match the model and sends them a notification when they are done. They can then open the app and get a fairly accurate view of how the finished project may look like.
Many other companies, too, have developed similar apps that help get a better idea of the design and the possible flaws it might have. Similarly, some companies have also been working on developing augmented-reality based computers and tablets.
Scribble Digital, for one, has developed an augmented-reality tablet that it claims would turn out to be very helpful for the construction industry in many ways. Besides forming 3D models onto 2D objects, it also comes with features that allow sharing the information pretty quickly and easily as well as accessing it offline.
However, what’s really interesting is the fact that the uses of augmented reality in the construction industry can be well beyond just visualization of the project plans. It can even be used for otherwise extremely challenging and complicated tasks such as design analysis, by allowing you to walk through the finished project in a virtual way.