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Microsoft's HoloLens Is a Vital Tool in Trials Aimed at Revolutionizing the Construction Industry

The first untethered, holographic computer, enables the user to interact with with high-definition holograms which could be useful for architects, engineers and others in the construction industry.

Thu January 26, 2017 - National Edition
Kurt Schlosser

The Microsoft HoloLens. (Microsoft Photo)
The Microsoft HoloLens. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft is making strides to ensure that the HoloLens could increasingly become a tool that architects, engineers and others in the construction industry reach for to make their jobs easier and more efficient.

A new post on the company's Windows blog details the work being done between Trimble, makers of the SketchUp Viewer, and the Construction Information Technology Lab at the University of Cambridge. The collaboration around mixed reality and the construction industry is focused on a pair of trials which are currently underway and which were shared at the Bett UK education technology event in the UK this week.

Automated Progress Monitoring is a means by which HoloLens can take some of the time-consuming and laborious nature out of regular, manual inspections of remote structures which are currently conducted through visual inspections. The trial brings all physical and digital information to HoloLens, speeding the process by which inspectors check, cross-reference and report on inspections and interact with those on site.

The second trial is Automated Bridge Damage Detection allows structural engineers to perform their work on HoloLens via high-resolution images taken by teams on site. The images are automatically mapped onto 3D models of respective bridges and engineers can use Microsoft's technology to review the integrity of a bridge in mixed reality. “This reduces costs and is more efficient, making sure bridges do not enter their 'failure zone,” leading to major road closures and disruption,” the blog post reports.

“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 [Architecture, Engineering Construction and Operations] industry,” said Aviad Almagor, director of the Mixed Reality Program at Trimble. “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 underutilized. At Trimble, we're excited about the potential mixed reality has to transform this industry, and partnering with Cambridge and Microsoft is just the beginning.”

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