Last May, Construction Junkie wrote about the impending release of Microsoft’s holographic headset, coined the HoloLens. Their partnership with Trimble, a construction technology manufacturer, made the technology of more specific interest to the construction industry.
Due to the lack of technology in centuries past, the construction industry has been trying to force three-dimensional building structures into a drawing on a flat piece of paper. This not only made it difficult to detect clashes of building systems, it made it even harder for clients to imagine what their end product would look like. The latter, as we all know, leads to many costly changes to projects, as the building starts to develop.
The Microsoft HoloLens is looking to make a splash in many different industries, but are clearly making a strong push in construction. Their partnership with Trimble will allow them to incorporate Trimble’s cloud platform, the very popular Sketchup, and the V10 Imaging Rover for 360 degree pictures for measurements and visual documentation. More info regarding HoloLens’ impact on the construction industry can be found on our previous post by clicking here.
Starting now, pre-orders for the HoloLens’ Development edition can be submitted by going to www.hololens.com/developmentedition. The units will ship to the US and Canada on March 30th. By releasing the Development edition, Microsoft is hoping to inspire software developers to create compatible versions of existing software or new software that will bring excitement to the device before full release. It will be interesting to see which construction software developers can figure out how to make their applications work. My immediate hope would be for the major players in project management and construction document markup software take the technology seriously.
What do you think? Is there a place for the HoloLens in your construction office or job site? Tell us in the comment section below!
Almost two years after they announced the release of their Bluetooth Battery that allowed owners to remotely monitor battery life and even disable the battery if it’s stolen, DeWalt is set to release a massive upgrade to their connected tool platform.
There’s no shortage of company’s trying to improve the world’s roadways. Asphalt and concrete each have their own disadvantages, especially when maintenance environmental factors are taken into consideration. Plastic is a major problem for landfills, as well, as it can take an estimated 500 years to fully decompose. One UK company believes they can solve both maintenance and environmental problems through the use of recycled plastic.
Feeling the pressure of 9 straight quarters with a decline in total revenue, Caterpillar has acquired the equipment sharing startup, Yard Club, to get help dig themselves out of the dirt. Their most recent quarter was the company’s first positive revenue quarter since November of 2012.
I’m a firm believer that before robots start taking over construction jobs, we’ll first be working with robotics to make workers more efficient and our job sites more functional. Instead of using 3D printing robots to build an entire project, why not use them first to create intricate details and bring character back to buildings? Instead of pushing human labor out of the way, why not use robotics to enhance the abilities of our workers, to improve their health and productivity? With rise in development commercial exoskeletons, workers will soon be able to harness additional strength by just slipping on a suit.
Last year, Tesla announced a new disruptive product to the market in the form of solar roof shingles. Unlike traditional solar roof panels, these shingles mimic the look of traditional terra cotta, clay, and slate tiles, creating a more aesthetically pleasing look. This week, the company began taking pre-orders for the roof shingles and also released a cost calculator.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is constantly researching ways to improve construction process and materials, like this material 10 times the strength of steel, or this solar cell that’s lighter than a soap bubble, or this “reversible concrete.” This time the Institute is showing off its autonomous robot that can spit out building structures on site within hours.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
Two of the most critical concepts of construction safety are the ability to see what you’re doing and to also be seen by others around you. Construction workers rely heavily on their employer providing lighting systems when working in low light conditions, but those systems are not always adequate.
There’s no doubt that the construction industry is behind when it comes to technology, but things are beginning to change. In the past few years, our industry has seen millions of dollars poured into new technology, including smartphone apps, advanced construction materials, and advanced safety equipment. One of the struggles –and perhaps the main struggle- with introducing new technology to the field staff is that many of them have been managing their jobs the same way for a long time. It can be difficult to convince them to change, especially if they have been successful with their current process.