The future is already here – Augmented Reality for existing buildings

When I posted yesterday about how I envisioned Google’s new glasses might impact the construction industry, some of my colleagues suggested I might be losing it, mentally. The concept of virtually layering additional information over a real view of something is known as augmented reality, and the technology already exists.

In fact, applications have already been developed for the built environment, and now researchers are looking at ways to improve the technology for facilities management:

Architects and engineers are also working with AR, increasingly deploying more precise uses of the technology to integrate 3D graphics and models into real-world views or to facilitate total immersion in a design project.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, have built an AR applications platform that promises to help facilities managers pull up BIM data with remarkable precision; the platform also calibrates with their devices’ viewfinder. The concept puts “intelligence in the application,” says Javier Irizarry, Ph.D., assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s school of building construction who is leading the project. “It knows what you need” in an indoor- use scenario, he says, compared to consumer AR apps that rely on the user having to look for locations, such as how far a store is from their car.