Microsoft’s Augmented Reality headset HoloLens is leading the way to the ‘Augmented Worker’ through augmented reality hardware for the construction industry, transforming many important construction processes in a practical way.
What is the Augmented Worker?
With technology advancements in Augmented Reality (AR) and wearable technology, the lines have blurred further between the physical and digital worlds. Operatives can now utilise AR solutions to leverage design information whilst in the field, with Augmented Reality facilitating the overlay of 3D Models and imagery with the real world environment.
Augmented reality doesn’t present the same restriction as Virtual Reality (VR) where the user cannot see anything other than the virtual environment. With AR technology, users are still able to see their surroundings meaning they are free to move around without restriction of no sight. This has vastly widened the use cases for AR where operatives can now realise the many benefits whilst in the field.
- Hands-free access to models
Smartphones and tablets enable the construction industry to make further steps into digital by enabling hands-free access to models on site. We are able to view a Revit model in a HoloLens environment, immersing the ‘Augmented Worker’ into the model whilst on a construction site, without the requirement for paper.
- Remote support in the field
Our Augmented Worker solution enables better collaboration on a construction site, where an issue can be spotted, the person on site can then connect with their design colleagues using HoloLens back at the office to discuss the solution and proceed further.
- 3D model superimposed on a site
Models overlay is core to our approach to the augmented worker using HoloLens. Instead of viewing 2D and 3D visualisations of models on screen, we are able to overlay models on top of the existing environment, which enhances many aspects of the design process, including:
- Architecture design review
- Structural models visualisation
- MEP visualisations
- Interior design review
- Guided point layout
- Step-by-step assembly instructions
- Guided check-lists with navigation
- Measurements and 3D scanning
HoloLens is able to create a mesh 3D map which can be used to better understand the environment. This includes:
- Tape measurements – HoloLens organically replaces tape for measuring short-to-medium distances, and it is showing precision of up to 1/4 of an inch. Therefore, we can quickly make the necessary measurements of a site.
- 3D scans and reconstruction – HoloLens’s spatial mapping feature allows our experts to reconstruct a 3D model and recover the full plan
- Clash detection on-site – Once we have a superimposed a 3D model and aligned in real space, we are able to instantly see the clashes right away
- Employee Training
In construction, training is much simpler and more cost effective when it is safe. The ‘augmented worker approach enables HoloLens headsets to be used in an unobtrusive and safe training environment, which still delivers the same level of detail as being on-site.
- Operations and Maintenance
Our experts work with our clients post-construction to ensure as-built models are maintained, this allows all subsequent repairs and maintenance jobs to be carried out using the augmented worker.