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Advice for contractorHow to Use Artificial and Augmented Reality in Construction Industry
Virtual reality, a well-known concept for many years, and augmented reality, made famous by the popular mobile game Pokemon Go, are ever-evolving technologies. Having first demonstrated their potential in video games, they're increasingly being used and developed across various industries.
Moreover, they represent a considerable appeal to investors, professors, scientists, and real estate developers. They're intended to facilitate learning, assist communication, and reliably modernize specific so-called conservative disciplines.
Since the construction industry is a more traditional and unpredictable industry, the use of augmented and virtual reality allows for better construction site management, from design to completion.
Source : Canva
Virtual reality is probably the most well-known concept of the three, and it provides total immersion in a fictional 3D universe, often inspired by real-world reality. Reproduced by computer software and displayed via a headset, simulations allow for the person who immerses themself in the world to interact with the objects and characters in real-time.
With this concept, it's more a question of adding virtual elements on top of real-world images. The computer-generated content also allows the user to interact with the environment, in real time, but it doesn't necessarily require a headset. Instead, the user is able to see the information on a screen (phone, tablet, computer screen...) or while wearing a pair of eyewear. The idea here is to enrich something that already exists by understanding its meaning. For example, if we add a storey to an existing house, what would the house look like in the end...
Just as the term suggests, it consists of a mix of both virtual and real worlds. In this case, real-world elements can interact with virtual objects. With the use of eyeglasses, this type of reality is highly interactive and frequently takes the form of holograms.
Source : Canva
First, let's go back to the beginning: training. No matter what profession you pursue, imagine being able to assimilate the exact procedures by practicing technical manoeuvres, whether on a construction site or in a factory, all in a virtually or semi-virtually controlled setting featuring various potential situations. And this, without any real accidents, while limitlessly exploring your creativity and repeating the process as many times as necessary to reach full comprehension, without wasting materials.
Moreover, if the instructor has access to your assignments and can review them later, or even immerse themselves with you to fine-tune the work and demonstrate by example, then the possibilities for improving skills and learning processes are huge.
To some extent, you can also train a worker in safety practices and equipment operation by simulating the eventual work site using GPS data and computer software.
In due part to building information modelling (BIM), one can further understand the pertinence of innovative applications related to augmented and virtual reality. These tech tools propel ideas into the near-real world to determine their viability.
As a matter of fact, suppose a 3D rendering of a building materializes on your tablet, or the construction details of a building appear before your eyes when you point your phone at a vacant lot. You could virtually implement load-bearing walls in specific locations, add wiring, reconsider the width of a storey, view the final result with completed landscaping, and so forth.
As a contractor, you would be able to use your tablet to show your team the worksite well ahead of time, as well as communicate the probable risks and the security measures that must be taken according to the worksite. Designers and ergonomists would be able to spot potential problems related to the way objects, nature, and humans intertwine.
In a nutshell, by managing remotely, one can take measurements from home, as well as spot conceptualization errors beforehand, keep the labour force better informed, meet all deadlines, and there would even be an interface that could give workers real-time guidance.
The construction industry involves countless conversations and meetings between the various parties involved in a project. Sharing of information must often be done as swiftly and accurately as possible, from design to delivery.
Since not all parties involved are on-site or present at the same time, incorporating virtual realities during certain stages makes things much easier. For example:
To interact remotely, but in real-time, during an inspection or when something unexpected occurs;
For all (specialists, managers, and the labour force) to agree on the steps to follow and the best decisions;
To see the same thing at the same time, and to advise accordingly while providing illustrated instructions and technical guidelines.
Imagine a sales pitch intended to convince an investor that’s supported by a 3D model, to which elements are added as you mention them!
Also, consider the option for home buyers to tour a building before it's even built, or for clients to actively participate in designing their landscape by seeing their ideas in real life through a smartphone. The space, textures, colours, overall look, process, etc., are now all accessible, not just on paper. Seeing the project unfold in 3D helps enhance communication and avoid mid-project changes that can delay the process. A happy client is a loyal one who will also refer you to other potential clients.
Blending digital technology and business allows companies to reduce delays and build a solid reputation. First, the client receives a quote faster, accepts it or alters it remotely. Then, manufacturers and contractors receive the list of materials needed and understand the exact steps involved in the project. Finally, the workers and technicians aren't on the road unnecessarily since everything is compiled and adjusted in real-time.
Source : Canva
Ease learning and assessments.
Optimize information retention through hands-on practice with less equipment.
Control plans at will before approval and allow you to virtually immerse yourself in an at-scale environment.
Safely simulate situations and reduce work staff.
Optimize project costs by wasting fewer resources, avoiding travel time, and increasing productivity.
Anticipate problems and minimize last-minute changes.
Encourage collaboration and information communication regarding useful know-how during the course of the project.
Most often, the tools used are VR headsets, glasses, sensors, and touchscreens like tablets or smartphones. Namely, among the heavy hitters are Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, NEXT-BIM, Microsoft HoloLens, and the Stellar X platform.
As technology develops, it's likely that we'll one day see the symbolic yellow hard hat worn by construction workers adapted to include a camera and sensors that can transmit information to augmented reality tech tools!
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Last modified 2023-11-07
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