Technology is advancing lightning fast. Every sector, along with the construction sector, is experiencing its effects. Some of the technological innovations and their impact on the construction industry we’re discussing today are Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, and Artificial Intelligence.
Let’s see how these four significant technologies are affecting the construction sectors.
Augmented Reality (AR)
One of the coolest technological advancements over the years is Augmented Reality (AR). This is the process of superimposing digital information on top of (or over) your real view.
This process is often implemented through smartphones, iPads, or headsets. AR has predominantly been used in the gaming industry, but its use in the construction industry is becoming more prevalent day by day. Many companies use Orion flares this to enhance details of their structural mapping of buildings that haven’t been constructed yet.
Users can scan a marker of their choice and expand into view the corresponding 360 models of the structure, on the screens before them.
This gives them a clear idea of precisely what the building is supposed to look like when its construction has been completed. Construction firms can use AR to showcase to their clients, what the proposed design for a structure would look like in a real environment.
For example, you can superimpose the structure of an amphitheater you’ve planned to build, by just holding up your smartphone screen towards the property you’ve chosen to build it on.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality is the process of simulating an experience that can either be completely different from or pretty similar to the real world. Virtual Reality is often implemented in the entertainment industry, and sometimes, for educational purposes.
Again, the gaming industry has been extensively using VR for a few years now. Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality are segments of Virtual Reality. Although VR is different from AR in the fact that it is completely computerized, the usage of the two is in similar ways (smartphones, headsets, iPods, etc.). Keyboards and a mouse can also be used for VR.
Speaking of how it affects the construction industry, VR can be hugely helpful in the exploration of the interior of any structure, virtually, before it has even been built. Realistic tours or investigations of a structure can be immensely useful in highlighting potential flaws in the construction or open up scopes for development.
All of this can be done before even a single brick is laid for the construction of the said structure.
3D printing is one of the technological innovations that is growing crazy fast. It is the process that creates a three-dimensional physical model of an object from a computerized design model of the same, by adding material successively, layer by layer.
This is the reason the process is also known as additive manufacturing. The 3D printers that we know of are the most basic models that can print small objects, adding thin layers of material like plastic. But guess what?
There are 3D printers that have printed actual dresses for movie stars to wear on prestigious ceremonies like the MET Gala.
So, the point is that, given the correct type of printer and the right materials, 3D printers can not only print small models of structures for the client’s reference but also print the actual building out of metals, alloys, and sandstone.
If this realizes, then manpower needed to build a structure will shrink down to almost zero, and so will the risks and dangers that come with being in a construction site.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is the most precious of all technological advancements that humans have made in recent times. In computer science, it is known as the intelligence that is displayed by machines, as opposed to human intelligence.
Described by McKinsey as “Construction technology’s final frontier,” Artificial Intelligence can change the game in practically any industry, let alone the construction industry. Unlike robots that are programmed to perform a specific taste repeatedly, AI algorithms are programmed to “think”- they have logical problem-solving abilities, can adapt, learn, and reason. Comparing millions of potential choices within a specific project would be only one of the tasks that AI accomplishes, which would otherwise take humans, years.
They can efficiently monitor photographs and videos footages and be able to detect, as well as come up with solutions to potential risks posed in real life as well as data. They would also be able to look out for symptoms of fatigue in workers of the construction site!
Apart from this list, other technologies that can completely disrupt the construction industry like, robots, living walls, wearable equipment (such as smart helmets or bionic suits), and our very own smartphones!