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
Whether you’re looking to begin using software for the first time or update your current system, here are some ways that software can help improve your company in 2018:
Picture documentation is arguably one of the most important aspects of a construction project. They can help communicate a story, catch mistakes, and assist in warranty calls. In the past, pictures only told part of the story, because they were two dimensional and often impossible to place where they were taken on the site. Now, 360 degree photos are becoming the norm and pictures are becoming an even more powerful tool.
By all accounts, Apple has become the operating system of choice for the construction industry. According to JBKnowledge’s latest Construction Technology Report, 70% of respondents stated that they used iOS devices in 2017, and iOS was also the most used system in 2015 and 2016. Procore, another tech company that’s a favorite for the industry, has just released a fully redesigned iOS app for both the iPhone and iPad.
Early in 2018, PlanGrid announced that they would be organizing their very first annual Construction Summit, which would unite PlanGrid users and stakeholders in the company’s home city, San Francisco. At the Summit, which took place on June 10 and 11, 2018, PlanGrid CEO Tracy Young and CTO Ralph Gootee chose to announce several major product innovations and developments.
Construction Junkie's 4th Annual Best Construction Podcast Competition has officially come to an end and the results have been tallied. It was a very exciting competition this year, with several very strong competitors pulling in tons of votes.
Tracking updates to construction software is uncharted territory for many contractors and very easy to miss. I’m going to be highlighting a lot more software updates and enhancements for several of the major project management and construction productivity software that many construction professionals are using in the future. Recently, PlanGrid announced 7 new updates that its users will most certainly find helpful.
Creating submittal logs and tracking forms can be a complete hassle, so thankfully tech companies have taken notice and have begun creating tools to alleviate the problem. Earlier this week, Procore announced the release of their new Submittal Builder tool, which will scan your project’s spec book and create a submittal log within minutes.
One of the biggest hassles of site work in construction is the hauling away of spoils. It’s costly and time consuming to bring in truck after truck to take unneeded soil off to an unknown dump site. When Elon Musk and his team, The Boring Company, started digging a tunnel for a HyperLoop system in Los Angeles, they knew there had to be a better way to handle to soil than to haul it away.