Augmented and Virtual Reality: Next Level Technology in Construction

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Augmented and Virtual Realities Technology in Construction

The construction industry is continuously getting demands for complex projects. To build them, firms need to embrace more innovative technologies and start taking better advantage of the new, impactful tools being developed like augmented reality and virtual reality.

Interactive technology has found its way in construction not so long ago. But even if it’s just a newbie tech in the industry, it has already proven to be useful in various ways.

Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) continues to bring new opportunities that will enhance safety and efficiency that existing technologies cannot offer. Apart from that, the benefits they offer still can extend to marketing, planning, and training. And the key to enjoying all of these is to know what these techs are intended for and know how to leverage them on the construction site.

AR vs VR in Construction

People are often confused by AR and VR. These two technologies are both interactive in nature but the way they connect people to the digital realm is different. In the movies, we’ve seen how AR and VR can become powerful manipulation tools and they are not far from happening in the real world. With technology advancing really quickly, one day, we might be able to control real things situated in another space without the need of touching them. To reach the true potential of these technologies, we should first learn how they work. Generally, AR integrates real-life objects with computer-generated images, while VR simulates an entire environment to your current space.

I – AR Significantly Improves Project Efficiency and Other Revolutionizes Other Processes

AR presents phenomenal advantages in the construction industry. Microsoft is among the first inventors of AR wearable that were utilized in different workplaces. Of course, the construction industry has been one of the targets of the HoloLens, aiming to make it a safer place.

People in construction are able to see digital versions of real objects projected in a real environment using AR. This makes it possible for people to access information from another space. For instance, in construction, the full information of equipment can be registered in AR. Whenever a training officer needs to orient new workers on how to use this equipment, he can simply project the information in front of them through a wearable or an app.

Another use of AR in construction is eliminating the need of physical blueprints. It’s true that this document can now be accessed easily by pulling it from the cloud through construction project management software like Pro Crew, but reviewing it hands-free makes it more efficient.

High-end AR glasses are equipped with sensors that can read the user’s hand gestures for browsing. Even without holding a remote controller,  mouse, or a stylus, users are still able to easily go through information stored in the cloud even while working on something else. This is helpful for someone who needs to look into a manual while doing repairs on a machine. The glasses flash the information in front of the user, without covering the real environment.

The future of AR in construction is so bright. Developers are already looking into using AR for the remote maintenance of machines. Experts can now guide field operators on how to handle specialized machines just by looking at a live stream set up by a camera worn by the field operator. This won’t only make the work faster but ensure quality as experts can guide their workers whenever they are needed.

II – VR Is Opening New Doors for Designers

Virtual Reality is making planning and rendering more efficient. This technology provides an immersive, virtual environment to architects and engineers, helping them visualize the end product even before it physically exists. Basically, VR has taken 3D rendering to the next level. Miniature models using boards are so old-fashioned too. With VR, you can travel through every phase of the construction, allowing you to make more informed planning decisions. Furthermore, VR has made presentations during bidding more compelling. Instead of presenting a 2D rendering and a model, clients are able to visualize your proposal much better with a virtual model that can be manipulated depending on their conditions.

The Future of AR and VR in Construction

Although not yet fully streamlined because of the cost of these technologies, several firms are already capitalizing on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. 

There are still more applicable opportunities to explore them and one area being studied at present is integrating BIM with VR for better design visualization in the field. The development is still in its early stages but when it’s already perfected, massive improvements in construction processes will surely be enjoyed.

AR, on the other hand, is expected to make the unimaginable happen like remote control, maintenance, and repair of machines. This will make the construction site a safer workplace.

The benefits of both VR and AR are not in doubt as they can greatly enhance efficiency, productivity, and safety in the field. Both technologies are expected to develop more features that are relevant in identifying future errors during the planning stage and current problems while the project is in the development stage. This can solve the never-ending problems in delay and cost overrun. So in the next few years, we might see the first construction project without flaws, delays, and over budget.



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