Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Augmented Reality Can Change Our Industry

Augmented reality is a really neat concept.  Not only for the AEC industry, but for all methods of how we do business.  Augmented reality is simply put, the integration of real world, real time data into the digital world.  In order to for it to work, you have to have a method of real world perception (eg, a digital camera).  Point your digital camera at something (eg, a building) and the camera recognizes it, then overlays the object with digital information. Georgia Tech and SCAD even teamed up to create a shoot-em-up zombie game using AR.  Pretty cool--skittle bombs.



Here are some ways I can see it working for architects, engineers and construction companies:

  • A environmental scientist in the field scans a parcel of land and overlays that with wetland data, gps data and even has the option to pull historical and permit information regarding that specific parcel.
  • A mechanical engineer troubleshoots an industrial HVAC system by scanning the building's systems with their smartphone--and is able to make the recommendations necessary to fix the problem on the spot.
  • A contractor has the ability to scan an area on a construction site and overlay it with the civil engineers grading plan--or perhaps a landscape architect's planting plan--to ensure the accuracy of the build.
  • A marketer goes to a completed building, snaps a photo, and pulls with it data about the building, square-footage, functionality, even project details uploaded from the data of the technical team (eg, LEED certifications, project schedules, team information, construction photos) and downloads immediately into a project sheet for use with the firm's marketing collateral.

These are just some of the ideas on how Augmented Reality might benefit the AEC industry.  But really, there are so many more possibilities.  BIM is the closest thing I've seen to this int he industry, but if there are other uses or ideas I'd love to hear them.

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