One of the very first articles I wrote over 3 years ago was about SAM, the Semi-Automated Mason, which is a bricklaying robot. Since that time, SAM, which is made by Construction Robotics, has seen several jobsites, according to their portfolio page. Their most recent project at the University of Nevada has put the technology back in the headlines.
If the company’s portfolio page is up-to-date and accurate, the Nevada project will be SAM’s biggest undertaking, by far, with around 60,000 bricks needing to be placed. Most of the robot’s past projects have been 15,000 bricks or less. In total, the project will have 100,000 bricks installed, but the robot can only handle around 60% of them.
Calling the robot Semi-Automated is pretty accurate, because it is currently only able to work on large and uninterrupted walls. According to Building Design + Construction, human masons are still required to perform a variety of tasks, including laying bricks in the first 5 feet of an area, corners, and around windows. Humans are also required to set up the scaffolding system that holds the robot, load the design into the on-board computer, align the row, tool the joints, and load bricks and mortar into the machine.
Despite all of that manual work, the general contractor on the job, Q&D Construction, states that SAM helped them speed up the installation of the brick veneer wall by 50% and that it can perform the work of 5 masons. The building, which will be a new University Arts building at the University, is scheduled to be completed this fall.
Check out the video below to see how SAM works:
[sponsored] In a world where construction is desperately seeking young people to fill the gaps of an aging workforce, it seems pretty obvious that someone should have come up with a way to incorporate video games into the construction process. Well, thanks to Buildfore’s CtrlWiz, someone finally has, and it allows users to manipulate 3D models within Navisworks with an Xbox controller.
Augmented Reality (AR) is often thought of as an interesting new twist on video games, but, in reality, it has some great potential for solving some common problems in construction. BigRentz, a construction equipment rental company, recently shared an infographic of 6 applications of AR in construction.
It’s that time again to begin Construction Junkie’s annual search for the best construction podcast! Now in our 4th year of the competition, it’s very clear that construction podcasts are gaining in popularity.
In November of 2018, Autodesk announced that it had acquired field productivity software, PlanGrid, for $875 Million. It was huge news for an industry that is finally starting to warm up to the use of technology on the jobsite. This morning, PlanGrid officially released their first integration into the Autodesk platform: PlanGrid BIM.
As smartphones and tablets are slowly becoming one of the most prominent and powerful tools on construction site, construction technology companies are still largely focusing on construction management firms and general contractors. What’s lost on many is the fact that there are dozens of subcontractors on every jobsite that also need to manage their projects.
Late last year, CAT Phones released their first ever smartphone on a US carrier network, the S48c. The phone is currently available on both the Sprint and Verizon Networks and I was recently able to test out the phone to get some better insight into how it operates. Overall, it offers the toughness to hold up to a jobsite at a reasonable price, but continue reading to hear about all of the details.
Tracking progress on any construction progress is an extremely vital step. Artificial intelligence is gaining popularity in the industry, as it can make sense of thousands of images or videos and place them into context. Before the AI can work its magic, though, all of those pictures and videos must be collected. That’s where robotics masters Boston Dynamics thinks they can step in with a robot they’ve been developing for years.
Fatigue on the jobsite is real, so much so that many technology companies have developed products to reduce fatigue and also sense when a worker is experiencing fatigue. There are other wearable devices, like exoskeletons, that can enhance a workers strength and stamina, but when you need to add more than a little punch, Construction Robotic’s MULE 135 may do the trick.
For over 3 years now, Trimble has been teaming up with Microsoft to make the mixed reality headset, the Microsoft HoloLens, a viable and useful tool for the construction industry. With Microsoft’s recent announcement of their next-gen headset, the HoloLens 2, Trimble also made an announcement about the impending release of a new wearable hard hat compatible device featuring the HoloLens 2.
Falls continue to be the number one leading cause of death on construction sites across the country, accounting for around 40% each year. Even if you can convince your construction crew to wear personal fall arrest systems each time they’re required, proper training is required to select the correct type of fall protection and the anchor points, as well as performing proper inspections of the equipment. An app called Harness Hero is trying to help solve the latter problem.