March 29, 2019

How Will Augmented Reality Impact Building and Construction?

by Eric Thompson

Architects have tough jobs, imagining impressive buildings from scratch and seeing them to completion. It takes vision, skill and the right tools to do it well.

One new tool that might become more widely handy very soon: augmented reality (AR).
You might already know what AR is, even if you haven’t heard that specific term before. Media and entertainment have been using it for a few years now to show real images interacting with those generated by computer graphics. Have a son or daughter that was enamored with Pokémon Go a few years ago? That’s AR in action.

For architects and designers, that visual interaction between real structures and imagined ones could come in handy. Recently the blog Redshift, created by the popular architecture and engineering software company Autodesk, elaborated on how this could come to life.

Per Redshift:
With the help of advanced augmented-reality technology such as computer vision and object recognition, the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and able to be digitally manipulated. In augmented reality, computer software must derive real-world coordinates, independent from the camera or from camera images.

Augmented reality has a wealth of design and construction uses beyond visualization, too. It can be used for design analysis to pick out clashes by virtually walking through your completed model. It fits the bill for constructability review by letting the architect and contractor collaborate on changes that have to happen between design and construction due to constructability issues. It can even assist with prefabrication of building components.

With new tools like these, it’s faster and easier for architects to conceptualize and visualize striking new designs, and it can drive greater efficiency throughout the entire construction process.
In the commercial fenestration space, it’s worth paying attention to developments like these. The immediate impact of AR for architecture and design might not be felt immediately for manufacturers and glaziers, but if buildings can be designed and built more quickly with advanced technology, we need to be meeting our end of the bargain—supplying and installing high-quality product when and where it’s needed.

The industry is continuously evolving, and AR is just a small piece of the puzzle. As my colleague Joe Erb wrote recently for USGlass magazine, it’s our responsibility to stay on-trend with wherever architects, designers and new code considerations take us. There’s plenty of opportunity but also plenty of new things to consider. We need to be investing in new technology to manufacture high-quality architectural glass as efficiently and as safely as possible, along with new skill sets in our people to meet that promise.

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Posted: March 29, 2019 by Eric Thompson Filed under: architecture, design, digital