There’s a small, but growing, fear in the construction industry that robots will soon make construction jobs obsolete, but, in all reality, the next logical step is for technology and robotics to first enhance the jobs of human construction workers. There is a lot of money being poured into the industry every day, looking for the next big piece of technology to take over jobsites by storm. A few recent examples are a bionic suit aimed at construction workers and an augmented reality smart hard hat. The next idea may make scaling walls at construction sites extremely easy.
Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Z-Man grips were originally developed to help military personnel quickly scale buildings to get to safety. Inspired by the climbing abilities of geckos, the scientists went to work replicating their behavior for use by humans. After years of struggles, the group from Draper Labs in Massachusetts devised a series of tiny metal hooks that were strong enough to allow people to first climb brick buildings, and then used magnets to climb metal buildings, using similar techniques that spiders use to climb.
The problem continued to be non-magnetic and smooth walls. After utter despair set in for the scientists, the idea for suction was grips were born. Now, the prototype combines suction cup grips on the hands and foot stirrups that release the suction when lifted up, allowing that corresponding hand to move freely. According to Popular Mechanics, the wall climbing system will cost somewhere between $3-5,000. Though each type of climbing system (metal, brick, and smooth/non-magnetic) are currently separated onto unique devices, the group believes that all three climbing technologies will eventually all be combined into one device.
Full Story: Anyone Can Be Spider-Man With DARPA's Wall-Climbing Invention | Popular Mechanic
If you have a safety meeting or perform an inspection and you can’t find any documentation of it, did it ever really happen? Well, sure it did, but it definitely helps to keep proper records for things as important as safety for reference later on or to prove to a government agency like OSHA that your company is being proactive. One way to keep proper records is to use an app, and Safesite has just made that easier as they now offer a free version of their inspection platform.
A few technology companies have been trying to wedge augmented reality into construction for a few years now, boasting benefits of overlaying BIM models onto the real life site you’re working on, as well as interactive collaboration with remote workers. One of those companies that we thought was going to make a pretty big impact is apparently closing its doors in the near future.
As much as I like my smartphone, it’s undeniable that they can be a huge distraction on the job site or in a vehicle. The construction industry is dangerous enough without these added distractions, so at least one US contractor has decided to proactively manage their employee’s smartphone usage.
With temperatures globally trending warmer each year, that heat can take quite a toll on professions that rely heavily on exterior labor, like the construction industry. There are many products available currently to help keep you cool on the jobsite, but the best may still be yet to come.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
As part of Autodesk’s late 2018 construction technology acquisition spree, the software giant gobbled up both PlanGrid and BuildingConnected. The two acquired companies now form a large part of Autodesk’s Construction Solutions branch – and are now integrated with each other for a seamless document transition from the pre-construction phase to the construction phase.
Last year at Groundbreak, Procore’s annual technology conference, the company teased a new platform they have been working on for BIM users. At that point referred to as “Design Coordination,” it now has a formal name – and an upcoming release date.
One of the key components of BIM is the ability to detect clashes, which are design coordination issues that result in the inability to construct a building as drawn. The use of 3-dimensional drawings allows contractors –and software- to detect if key building components are intersecting before it’s about to be installed in the field. Autodesk BIM 360 has recently updated its clash detection abilities within its Model Coordination module more easily and efficiently within its platform.
Hot off of the acquisition of Honest Buildings, a project management software aimed at owners and developers, Procore has announced they have acquired yet another tech company to help bolster their offerings.
Construction Management software company, Procore, initially launched their annual technology conference, Groundbreak, back in 2015. Originally hosted at their headquarters in California, the event has grown exponentially from that first year and this year may be its biggest yet.