David Kravets, writing for Ars Technica:

A judge on Thursday declared as unconstitutional a local Wisconsin ordinance mandating that the makers of augmented reality games get special use permits if their mobile apps were to be played in county parks. The law—the nation’s first of its kind—was challenged on First Amendment grounds amid concerns it amounted to a prior restraint of a game maker’s speech. What’s more, the law was seemingly impossible to comply with.

The federal lawsuit was brought by a Southern California company named Candy Lab. The maker of Texas Rope ‘Em—an augmented reality game with features like Pokemon Go—sued Milwaukee County after it adopted an AR ordinance in February in the wake of the Pokemon Gocraze. Because some of its parks were overrun by a deluge of players, the county began requiring AR makers to get a permit before their apps could be used in county parks.

The permitting process also demanded that developers perform the impossible: estimate crowd size, event dates, and the times when mobile gamers would be playing inside county parks. The permits, which cost as much as $1,000, also required that developers describe plans for garbage collection, bathroom use, on-site security, and medical services. Without meeting those requirements, augmented reality publishers would be in violation of the ordinance if they published games that included playtime in Milwaukee County parks.

Central to its position, Milwaukee County tried to argue that Augmented Reality apps were not protected by the First Amendment. Why?

Because according to the county, the game “does not convey any messages or ideas. Unlike books, movies, music, plays and video games—mediums of expression that typically enjoy First Amendment protection—Texas Rope ‘Em has no plot, no storylines, no characters, and no dialogue. All it conveys is a random display of cards and a map.”

This is a preliminary injunction, and ultimately the matter will be determined in trial, currently not calendared until April of next year.

Building Enclosure Online shared the following:

After pioneering the use of virtual design in construction, Mortenson Construction has developed a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) mobile app to help the University of Washington community “see” the future CSE2 computer science building – well before its doors open to students in January of 2019. Similar to the popular Pokémon Go, users can either point their smartphones at the construction site on campus – or at a printed handout if off campus – to experience a life-like digital representation of the future CSE2 building.

According to the article (which requires subscription to read, unfortunately), Mortenson developed the app in-house. I think what impresses me the most about the capabilities of this kind of technology is how engaging it becomes for stakeholders.

Back when I was working on the Pfizer Global Research & Development campus project in La Jolla, there came a point where the entire project was threatened due to changes to the company’s capital plan. One of the pieces of collateral that I used to help save the project (and 1,500 jobs in the process), was a 3D flythrough of the the campus. Once stakeholders could see themselves in the project, and could experience what it would be like to actually work in such a space, the green light came rather easily.

That was 15 years ago. The cost for doing something similar today would be about 2% of what we paid back then.

Apple’s Tim Cook has been unusually candid in recent months about some of what lies ahead in the company’s normally secretive pipeline. Besides empowering the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of a home automation play, Apple has invested substantial R&D resources in developing the best Augmented Reality (AR) experience possible, the way only Apple can.

Using Apple’s ARKit, which gives developers a means to leverage the AR resources Apple has embedded within the next version of iOS, Laan Labs has developed a wonderful proof of concept product that turns your phone’s camera into a realtime measurement tool. The Next Web reports:

To accomplish this, AR Measure factors in the distance between various points in 3D space to help you measure any physical object by simply using your phone’s camera.

All it takes to put the virtual ruler to use is point your camera, select your desired starting point and pull your phone away from it. AR Measure will then calculate the distance between your starting and end points – sort of like a virtual measuring tape.

Want to see it in action? Video below:

The app won’t be available until iOS 11 is released to the public later this year.

Disruption is a word that is overused in Silicon Valley, and elsewhere in the tech world. The idea is that sometimes a new player comes along with an approach to doing things in such a radically different way that it disrupts the entire industry.

With advancements such as building information modeling (BIM), virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR), semi-private cloud-sharing of information, drone photography, the Internet of Things (IoT), prefabrication and/or modular construction, 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and so on and so forth… — the construction industry of the next couple decades will look absolutely nothing like the previous couple decades.

(more…)

Microsoft’s HoloLens is yet another entrant in the race for virtual/mixed/augmented reality domination. Via the Microsoft website:

World-famous architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha has expressed his delight after Microsoft and Trimble helped to recreate some of his most well-known buildings using HoloLens.

The 88-year-old Brazilian said it was “fantastic” that he could see his creations using Microsoft’s mixed-reality headset, which places computer-generated holograms in the real world.

Mendes da Rocha’s designs were recreated using Trimble’s SketchUp, before being uploaded to SketchUp Viewer for HoloLens, the first commercial app for HoloLens available via the Microsoft Store.

Here’s a short video:

Back in June of 2015, a relatively unknown company by the name of Daqri introduced an augmented reality-enabled hard hat that they dubbed the Smart Helmet.

While there clearly is not yet massive adoption among the trades for a more than $1,000 hard hat, that doesn’t mean Daqri has ceased innovation. In fact, as Construction Junkie reports, the company unveiled its next wearable device purpose-built for the architecture, engineering and construction industry: Smart Glasses. (Not to be confused with Google Glass, of course…)

Here is a video showcasing Daqri’s products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show:

And here is a case study produced by Autodesk and Mortensen showcasing the Smart Helmet:

Learn more about the entire product line at Daqri’s website.