Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably noticed the design and construction industry is rapidly evolving with new, emerging technologies. Augmented Reality (AR) is just one of the many technologies positively impacting the way project teams work. AR allows designers and builders to overlay project drawings, models, or images onto a physical space. This post touches on why the technology’s range and depth of application is truly groundbreaking.
Today, Quick Response (QR) codes and Augmented Reality (AR) apps extend the use of a tablet device or smart phone in the field. Affixing a QR code to any tangible object (building), allows anyone who scans the code to access information the project team associates with it. Mobile devices are used to read these codes and work together with AR applications to access specific information. In the near future, wearable technology, like Google Glasses, will become a more practical jobsite option, which will allow for a hands-free alternative. In addition, GPS advancements will eventually remove the need for QR codes or other markers resulting in a more interactive and efficient productive work practices.
While these advancements will continue to build a great case for augmented reality, there are some rock solid reasons why augmented reality is here to stay:
- Encourages team collaboration. It is no secret collaboration is one of the keys to project success. Unlike working through traditional project plans, augmented reality encourages interaction among project stakeholders. For example, a project manager can perform a jobsite walkthrough with a BIM overlay. The overlay allows for quick comparison, instant collaboration, and problem solving.
- Brings an added dimension to design visualization. Augmented reality allows for greater design visualization. With an iPad and an AR app, users can overlay a 3D model to envision how a building element is intended to appear upon completion. This added dimension of visualization is invaluable to all project stakeholders as they will have greater insight into the design details that were not completely realized with a 2D drawing.
- Leverages BIM ensuring a greater ROI. Designers and builders are increasingly using BIM. With the many continued benefits of augmented reality, BIM adoption rates will most likely increase. For example, a BIM model overlay allows users to make instant assessments on construction issues without having to look away. With the enhanced functionality of AR, these models are being used in a more productive and efficient manner, resulting in a greater return on the investment.
- Eases clash detection. Augmented reality allows for a more accurate design analysis, enabling the ability to more effectively detect clashes. An architect and general contractor can work through constructability issues more efficiently.
- Allows a supervisor to visibly monitor progress. Overlaying BIM information allows supervisors to see the finished project compared to current progress. This allows the supervisor to get a more accurate perception of building elements.
- Easily locates hidden building elements. GPS can orient an iPad or tablet device, via pins, to the same point on the building’s model, allowing the user to make the connection between the model and where construction will occur. When these pins are recognized with an iPad or tablet, the model for that specific site location is displayed. Slowly rotating the tablet in the space will allow the user to view the future space via model at that specific location. Site professionals can view exactly how the finished environment will appear.
- Reinforces the effort to deliver a quality project. Integrating augmented reality with BIM bolsters project quality. Augmented reality allows a full-scale BIM model walkthrough allowing for the creation of a more efficient construction schedule and logistics plan for staging areas, material and supply deliveries, and equipment storage.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in Reasons to be Pumped About Augmented Reality on Construction Site. The potential for the use of augmented reality in the design and construction industry is just beginning. New applications and uses are being developed all the time. Augmented reality integration is definitely on the rise and is an emerging technology to keep a close eye on.