Contruction Today - July/August 2017 - 25
By Dr. Eunseok Park
IN THIS SECTION
The Promise of AR
AR, meanwhile, has the potential to be used more broadly, but its
intended use is more complex. With overlays of digital information
over the real world, users can interact with their physical environments, access and share information in compelling new ways and
utilize actionable data in real time. For construction, this means
enabling workers not only to take the technology into the field, but
also to communicate the data they collect with project managers and
stakeholders who aren't on site.
Enabling these capabilities will require hardware such as smart
helmets or smart glasses that can be worn in the field. Every construction worker needs to wear a helmet. The next logical step is to apply
AR glass technology to the equipment. And unlike the consumer
market, there's no need to consider the fashion element for this
application, which eliminates additional development hurdles; the
primary goal is safety and functionality.
While VR can be used as a simulation process to inform the building process, AR can be used in the actual construction stage-both
horizontal and vertical. Its capabilities have the potential to guide
workers on the jobsite with structural information, tool and process
analysis and more. Because of these applications, AR will be used
much more intensively than VR during the overall timeline of a
construction project, which can last months. However, implementing
AR into construction is no easy task.
Because AR requires complex software functionality and compatible hardware, it's not quite ready to fit the needs of construction
There are current limitations that must be overcome, such as
solving the interoperability challenge, optimizing 3-D modeling for
high-end AR applications, and addressing skill-set limitations-programs don't train people for the same type of gaming tech used for
recreating virtual environments.
Still, although AR hardware development is further behind than
VR in construction, the Groundbreak panelists generally agreed that
AR will be much more valuable down the road.
One reason is because AR is more applicable for getting data to the
field, such as overlaying building information modeling (BIM) representations and embedding data in real time over maps and other
areas of the jobsite. Enabling companies to see what their workers see
in the field is a fascinating concept with numerous benefits.
Consider some of the many advantages AR technology can enable
in this context:
* Advanced training methods to test and prepare workers for
different jobsite conditions;
* On-demand equipment inspection and insights into building
materials used in projects;
* Real-time safety and quality assurance in the field;
software gives project
control back to owners.
RedTeam Software offers
commercial contractors a
Comtran Cable LLC
* Faster action time from project managers
when contractors run into problems; and
* Advanced data accuracy of all phases of a
project for cost and time savings.
In an industry as traditional as construction that is already wary of adopting technology, introducing AR/VR when the tech isn't
fully ready could potentially set adoption
back even further. However, the potential
gains are evident, and it's becoming increasingly likely that construction companies
that don't adapt to the times may risk falling
behind the competition.
Dr. Eunseok Park is the U.S. general manager of uSens. Previously, he was the
U.S. regional director for Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, where he
managed research and development in emerging technologies. A collaborator on
nearly 200 world patents, Dr. Park is the author of many articles published for IEEE
symposiums. He received his master's degree and PhD in electrical engineering
from Syracuse University, and an MBA from Sogang University in Seoul, South
Korea. For more information, visit www.usens.com.
JULY/AUGUST 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM