Applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Construction

In recent years, technology has made it possible for people to experience reality in completely new ways. Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) place users in a world transformed by digital information. VR allows you to experience a completely virtual world using a headset and other hardware, and AR adds digital images and information to your view of the real world.

It’s possible to imagine futuristic applications for VR and AR across industries, from gaming to education. With the potential to change how we experience our surroundings, these tools have even started gaining traction in the construction industry.

Construction Applications for VR and AR

Though VR and AR have received public attention for their use in entertainment, these tools also have many practical uses. Here are just a few of the ways professionals are using augmented and virtual reality in the construction industry:

  • Project planning: By integrating VR and AR devices with 3D modeling software like Tekla and AutoCAD, construction companies can catch more design mistakes and give clients a more realistic expectation of the finished product. For example, to reduce the need for redesign late in a project, a company might present designs to clients using VR.
  • On-site measurement: On a construction site, augmented reality can be used to help workers take automatic measurements and compare them to design specifications. This can speed up the time it takes to make measurements and increase the accuracy with which a building is constructed.
  • Worker training: Augmented and virtual reality can help construction industry workers learn equipment and worksite safety policies before setting foot in a potentially hazardous environment. Because these tools facilitate realistic interaction, they’re ideal for employee training.
  • Team collaboration: The construction process requires extensive collaboration across teams. When questions arise, people on-site can contact remote team members and convey problems more easily through recorded augmented reality.

How Do VR and AR Differ From Mixed Reality?

It’s clear that AR and VR will make waves in construction in the coming years. But what role is mixed reality likely to play in the industry? Though this technology has similar applications, it comes with a few important distinctions.

Mixed reality serves as a middle ground between VR and AR. In mixed reality, a computer overlays the real world with a digital environment, fully integrating digital elements with real ones. This means objects rendered in mixed reality can interact with and respond to real objects. Construction workers using mixed reality would, therefore, be able to manipulate the virtual environment and view objects from different angles.

Due to its more advanced capabilities, mixed reality requires more processing power than augmented reality. Nonetheless, mixed reality in construction is becoming possible thanks to devices like the Trimble XR10 with the Microsoft HoloLens 2.

Leveraging This Technology for Your Operations

Virtual, augmented and mixed reality all have the potential to streamline construction workflows, reduce costly rework, improve worker safety and contribute to better outcomes for clients. Though these technologies are still in the early stages of industry adoption, implementing them now can help ensure your construction operation is prepared to take full advantage of mixed reality devices once they arrive.

To learn more about potential applications for VR and AR in construction, reach out to BuildingPoint Southeast today. Our knowledgeable representatives can help you determine whether this technology could benefit your company.

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