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Gearing up BIM with Augmented Reality (AR)!

3D / VDC Project Workflows
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Published: 26/06/2019

AR (Augmented Reality) technology has been in hype over the past few years. Let us understand how AR would help gearing up BIM for the AEC industry.

This article would help us explore Augmented Reality and acquaint ourselves with the range of applications & tools providing it enabling us to link or upgrade our existing workflow/style with AR technology & decide on which tool/app would suit best to suffice our respective requirements accordingly in order to get benefitted by it.

Starting with understanding what Augmented Reality stands for…

Augmented reality is defined as "an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to add digital information on an image of something." Source:https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/augmented-reality-versus-virtual-reality/3844772.html

It could also be defined as a technology that superimposes/overlays a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus, providing a composite view for enriched experiences.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are "augmented" by computer-generated intuitive information. Source: Wikipedia

The terms VR and AR could perplex us, in fact they do.

In layman's terms, the big difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is that VR is immersive whereas, AR adds digital components to the live/real world or view making it intensified.

To relate it to our day-to-day life, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger lenses (filters) are mere examples of AR technology.

Best example to mention: Pokémon GO game.

AR Technology is supported by Mobile phones/Tablets by means of Holograms in some cases; PCs and Smart TVs as well as Smart Glasses.

Some of the best Augmented Reality tools with regards to BIM are listed below: (As specified earlier in the article, you may browse through the websites provided to avail brief information & features of the tools/apps to make a right choice).

1.   Vuforia - https://www.vuforia.com/

2.   Wikitude - https://www.wikitude.com/

3.   Apple ARKit - https://developer.apple.com/arkit/

4.   Maxst - http://maxst.com/#/

5.   Kudan - https://www.kudan.eu/

6.   InfinityAR - https://www.infinityar.com/

7.   Google ARCore - https://developers.google.com/ar/

8.   SmartReality AR - http://smartreality.co/

9.   Pair formerly called Visidraft - https://www.pair3d.com/

10. DAQRI AR Helmet / Smart Glasses - https://daqri.com/ https://daqri.com/products/smart-glasses/

11. ARki - https://www.darfdesign.com/arki.html

12. Microsoft Hololens - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens

13. Magic Leap One - https://www.magicleap.com/

14. Augment - https://www.augment.com/

15. ViewAR - https://www.viewar.com/  

16. BIMevoke - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tminternational.evokear&hl=en

17. SightSpace Pro - https://sightspace.pro/

18. Google Glass - https://www.x.company/glass/

19. Meta 2 - https://www.metavision.com/

And so on….

Some examples of the apps developed based on AR technology for Architecture to view and re-design your arena in terms of wall paints, furniture systems, décor etc. are:

1.   MagicPlan

2.   PLNAR

3.   Housecraft

4.   Houzz

5.   IKEA PLACE

6.   Dulux Visualizer

7.   Build.com

etc.

Coming to BIM-specific project cases and alliance, AR is an emerging technology fostering value addition with regards to:

1.   Increasing efficiency and accuracy/preciseness of plans and models

2.   Collaboration

3.   Viewing what is hidden (that cannot be seen with the naked eye) like behind the walls, below the surface etc. Precisely, obstructed or blocked views

4.   Preserve time and money by substituting plans with 3D models

5.   Providing real-time maintenance information

6.   Safeguarding on-site safety issues

7.   Improvising productivity

8.   Anticipate operations and maintenance

9.   Effective surveillance and inspections

10. Redefine designs as per client’s needs

11. Avoid errors and rework

12. On-time and budgeted Project delivery

13. Satisfied customers/clients as there is a technical ice-breaker between the consultants and client.

14. Addressing the issues before conflicts arise

15. Most importantly, Enriched visualization

 Imagine the scenarios, wherein,

  •  A building supervisor could overlook walls, floors or ceilings in order to evade damaging waterlines, breaking walls etc. thus, leading to eased process of inspection and scrutiny.
  • Just with the use of a tablet or smartphone, the engineer is capable to visualize components of the project as needed regardless of waiting for the site to be visited.
  • A maintenance engineer capable to detect a faulty circuit/equipment through a building just by viewing the image generated by AR app, thus, facilitating risk management.

All thanks to AR!!

To conclude, the prospective of AR technology in the AEC sector cannot be disregarded. AR technology is on the verge of becoming a transformation to the way AEC industry functions boosting communication/collaboration and productivity of the projects.

AR is not only becoming a part of AEC industry but also, rapidly turning out to be popular in Travel, Heath care, Education, Gaming, Retail, Marketing, Navigation, Advertising, Media fields.

Though AR is embraced by AEC industry, it is yet maturing and has a long way to go….!!

-BIM will make it easy!!

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