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Microsoft Hololens set to bring mixed reality to construction

Microsofts Hololens smart glasses could be used to create mixed reality structures to assist in construction.

By Joe Clark

Microsoft has announced that Trimble and the University of Cambridge will be testing ways to utilise Hololens smartglasses in construction.

The programme will use Hololens’ mixed reality features in order to identify possible structural errors in bridges, allowing safety inspectors to conduct their inspections miles away from the physical site.

The hoped outcome for this pilot is that workers on site would be able to take pictures of the structures in question which can then be uploaded to a cloud service and observed through the smartglasses, allowing the inspector to explore the full area to identify any possible concerns.

The project will be a combined effort involving University of Cambridge’s Construction Information Technology (CIT) and California based technology company Trimble, which specialises in providing for the construction, geospatial, agriculture and transportation industries.

Dr Ioannis Brilakis, Director of CIT Laboratory at the University of Cambridge said: “The construction sector is undergoing rapid transformation as a result of the revolution in digital engineering. The university has a wide portfolio of research projects which aim to solve problems in the construction sector.”

It is hoped that Hololens’ use of mixed reality will allow for many practical applications as unlike virtual reality, which is a completely virtual simulation, mixed reality is a combination of both virtual and physical worlds in order to create a simulation in which the physical and digital can interact.

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Aviad Almagor, Director of the Mixed Reality Program at Trimble, said: “Cambridge University is a world-renowned educational institution, and it’s been a fascinating experience to partner with the university and Microsoft, using HoloLens to envision the future of the AEC industry. This initiative has helped us to inform the next frontier of technology within the sector – especially in areas such as construction, where IT has traditionally been underutilised.”

Hololens has been available for dev’s since early 2016 and a consumer release date is still to be confirmed.

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