Augmented reality (AR) software has been a common feature in professional design toolkits for a while. But the recent release of Apple’s Vision Pro glasses shows the mixed-reality wearables sector is making serious inroads in consumer markets too, as one of the world’s biggest names in consumer design and technology enters the market.
A major reason for the immense hype surrounding Apple’s foray into AR/VR hardware, however, is the decision to position it as ‘spatial computing.’ By taking the complexity of augmented reality, and using it to heighten a familiar consumer sector – personal computing – the Cupertino-based brand has simplified the whole experience, widening its understanding and appeal.
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By introducing the huge capabilities of AR in simple terms, the technology will become a far-better-known tool. Already in use by architecture, construction, design, and engineering professionals, AR will be utilized for client communications in the same ubiquitous way that email, video calls, and 3D design software have in the past. These are some of the ways the developing technology of AR has already impacted the world of architecture, design, and construction, and how they might evolve in the future.
A(R) Creative Tool in Design and Architecture
Augmented reality is the combination of two worlds. The real world in which we exist and where our actions have dangerous structural implications. And the digital world where mistakes can be made and undone without danger, and tasks made more efficient by automation or duplication.
Professional architects have a honed ability to read the language of a floor plan like coders read zeros and ones, but even professionals can benefit from using AR to walk around an existing space. By physically pulling and pushing walls into place, adding or deleting windows and other architectural elements, and changing products and finishes at will, architects can experience the changes in representative surroundings. Both professional architects and consumers currently use AR to do this with handheld devices, but by combining the technology with hands-free wearables, creatives can free their hands, time, and minds while on site.
Improve Client Communication and Understanding
Digital technologies such as 3D real-time rendering, video calls, cloud computing, and even the basic telephone have impacted how architects present to and communicate with clients. The innovations allow decisions to be made quickly, efficiently, and even remotely. Even with all of these techniques and services at their disposal, however, translating a creative vision to a client is often a struggle.
While 3D visualization software allows clients to see the dimensions of a new space, it leaves out the experience of actually being there. Alternatively, virtual reality headsets present the experience of being surrounded by an environment, but without the ability to interact with it naturally. By combining both the real and virtual worlds, however, clients can use AR to experience a new space, while moving inside the existing one. The result is a far better understanding of the project, making it easier for all parties to identify possible problems with the project earlier in the design process.
Experiential Learning with Onsite AI/AR Guidance
Online video tutorials have transformed practical education. Now brave and enthusiastic amateurs can learn and improve any skill from fixing a kitchen sink to fixing a complex spreadsheet with video walk-through assistance. AR technology – in collaboration with AI software and hands-free hardware – is likely to revolutionize experiential learning even further.
By using real-time data to add an overlaid 3D image through a pair of glasses or a helmet, full schematics can identify potential issues before they become more serious problems. Structural, electrical, or plumbing networks, for example, can be viewed, assessed, or altered before or after installation, making on-the-job training far less daunting. But it’s not just amateurs and trainees who make mistakes. Even experienced architects would benefit from an automatic safety net to catch mistakes and misunderstandings.
Experience History in Real-Time
AR can help architects create new structures quicker and with fewer mistakes. But AR can also be used to bring old, forgotten buildings back to life, too. In carefully sweeping the Earth for clues on how lost civilizations once lived, archaeologists can ensure they live on. Museum exhibits allow visitors to walk through re-enacted environments in the confines of an installation, and handset apps use AR to hold a window up to the past. But that window can be turned into a door by combining AR and next-gen wearables. We can visit real-world sites of ancient ruins and, with the help of AI and AR together, can interact with them as they once were.
Although augmented reality has been discussed as the next big thing in experiential technology for some time, with a range of AR-connected hardware and software either on or coming to market on Apple’s coattails, the wearable industry could be just what augmented reality needs to bring it to life.
Source: Arch Daily
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