A technological innovation is revolutionizing one of the oldest professions in the world. Augmented reality has just broken onto the scene and has already been transforming civil construction. The changes are seen not only in designing and modeling, but also in building. Augmented reality benefits the entire construction team: engineers, designers, architects, project managers and service providers.
Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally new and independent environment of the real world, augmented reality includes virtual elements that interact with what already exists. It is thus possible to combine virtual architectural designs with the reality of the construction site, increasing efficiency and accuracy, reducing the occurrence of errors and saving time, money and resources.
We know that the construction sites are often chaotic, noisy and dirty spaces. Although the adoption of the BIM system reduces many of the incompatibilities and unpleasant surprises during the construction process, it is inevitable that doubts arise and errors occur during construction. And, more importantly, every mistake or redo costs a lot of money and time.
The idea is that Augmented Reality applications can provide a more accurate view of what will be built, including all layers of materials and installations that are often complex to understand through drawings. For this, 3D plans and even virtual model holograms are used to improve the understanding of the project and facilitate the execution of projects. And even during construction, the ability to see through walls and understand the path of the technical installations facilitates the process, reduces the possibility of errors, and even guides the construction of complex geometries.
To fully use Augmented Reality you need a device (usually glasses). Currently, several companies manufacture AR hardware, but the most popular used in construction is Microsoft HoloLens. One of the big reasons why home builders choose Microsoft HoloLens is the price and the fact that it is now certified as basic protection glasses. The company DAQRI has developed a safety helmet integrated into the glasses, to facilitate even more use by construction professionals.
One of the areas that will benefit most from augmented reality is the inspection and management of works. This conceptual video shows how the work can be facilitated and improved with the adoption of technology in the future:
We have selected some Augmented Reality technologies that can revolutionize the way we approach the construction industry.
AR Sketchwalk is a augmented reality tool that allows designers to use augmented reality to dive into their sketches to give both their clients and themselves a truer sense of the space. Using an iPad, you position your sketch in the plan (or site) and can walk through it, growing the walls. This makes the experience of presenting a project much more interactive and clear to the customers. Check out other Morpholio apps here.
The DAQRI Smart Helmet is a helmet capable of visualizing projects and 3D models in augmented reality as an immersive and large-scale 3D environment. Teams can compare work-in-progress with the original design and keep the work and office in sync with an all-digital workflow.
Measure Apps for IOS and Android
Nowadays, in addition to the AR Measure, which we have talked about here, some applications are available for the same purpose. IOS 12 even comes with a measurement app installed. They work like digital rulers, calculating distances in real spaces using the cell phone’s camera. With the application you can measure objects and also draw plans from a real room. AirMeasure and MeasureKit are some of the applications for this purpose, among several others.
Augment is an application that allows users to view 3D models in real time and on the right scale, transforming a plan into a 3D model hologram, or simulating life-size products. The platform is available for smartphones and tablets and is used by product designers, sales and marketing teams for reducing prototyping costs, increasing customer appeal and boosting sales.
Fologram transforms 3D models into full-size construction instructions through augmented reality glasses, such as the Hololens. The program seeks to facilitate the construction of complex projects that require a series of measurements, verification and specific care through digital instructions that are virtually superimposed on the work space, directing a step-by-step guide for masons during the construction process.
GAMMA AR is a building site monitoring application that uses augmented reality technology to overlay BIM 3D buildings via smartphones or tablets. It allows you to compare the reality of the work with the planning information contained in the project. GAMMA AR enables 3D BIM models to be viewed before and during the building process, creating an understanding of planning, avoiding errors, and reducing construction costs.
WakingApp, an augmented virtual reality software company, has recently released add-ons that enable Autodesk Revit and Fusion 360 users to turn their 3D designs into augmented reality and virtual reality through a smartphone or tablet.
ARki is a real-time augmented reality visualization service for architectural models. It incorporates RA technology into the architecture by providing 3D models with multiple levels of interactivity for both design and presentation purposes. Can be used on any iOS/Android device.
The Danish company Dalux offers three augmented reality solutions for civil construction. The Dalux Viewer is a free application available on the iOS and Android platform and allows users to design a 3D model and digital drawings on the actual construction site. Dalux Build combines augmented reality with other tools that make it easier to manage projects under construction, ensuring uninterrupted flow of information across all stages of the project. On the other hand, DaluxFM offers solutions for the management of facilities, which includes planning and asset management, including contracts for outsourced and associated services, electrical maintenance, hydraulics, rent control, as well as site preservation activities.