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Driving Construction with AR, VR, and Wearables

By Construction Tech Review | Wednesday, May 22, 2019

FREMONT, CA: The construction industry is incorporating emerging technologies such as wearables, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), machine learning (ML), virtual reality (VR) and others to foster a smart environment. However, companies must be aware of the technologies that are specific to their business. For example, with the help of wearable technologies, communication and data collection capabilities have enhanced in the construction industry. Insights from the technologies already employed elsewhere can also be a vital lead for an enterprise.

A recent example of wearables is from China, where State Grid, the country’s utility has employed hands-free computers for its electrical engineers and line workers. As it’s not possible to operate touch screens with insulated hands, this technology has a crucial role to play in construction. State Grid implemented a comprehensive pilot testing of the technology in Shanghai while aiming to provide the workers with real-time remote assistance for live maintenance without using their hands. With a high-resolution video camera, RealWear HMT-1 enables the workers to operate using voice commands, even amidst a loud environment because of its noise-cancellation capability.

The system requires three people to coordinate with the other two in the crane’s bucket. The second worker holds on to an insulated rope tied to the first worker, who works with his or her gloved hands. The third worker stays inside an insulated cabin on the ground watching the proceeding on a mobile device. A fourth person can also remotely observe through a laptop that’s analogous to the first worker’s eyes.

There are numerous other examples as above. The VR market is projected to grow by 33.47 per cent between 2018 and 2024, as stated by Research and Markets. The industries are moving towards more immersive technologies that will provide a realistic experience of the virtual environment. Virtual reality goggles and head-mounted displays are already a bold move in this direction.

Organizations are actively involved in the transformation. They are even collaborating for immersive design and adaptability of these technologies into their business requirements. However, with the massive potential of technologies in construction, it’s up to the companies to identify how to leverage them.

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