Construction industry embraces new technology

Contractors find efficiencies in drones, augmented reality and wearable technology

Oct.October 10, 2015 03:00 PM

Technology is changing the construction industry as contractors discover the efficiencies of such products as drones and wearable devices.

Drones, for example, are permitting contractors to record on-site progress faster and more reliably than ever before. Traditionally, inspecting sites from the air has been costly in time and expense, and produces results that are hard to analyze. A drone equipped with a camera can capture aerial images with greater ease and lower cost.

Drones also substitute effectively for human crews in inspections of dangerous and difficult-to-reach areas. For example, a team can remotely operate a drone to conduct an analysis of the face of a concrete dam and detect such signs of deterioration as cracks.

Augmented reality has widespread application in not only gaming but also construction. The most common type of augmented reality is available from such wearable digital glasses as Microsoft’s HoloLens.

Traditionally, contractors have translated such two-dimensional communications as drawings and spreadsheets into a finished three-dimensional building. But with a technology called building information modeling (BIM), this translation from 2D concept to 3D reality is easier.

Wearable technology could change how users operate in the construction industry in the near future. Users of smart watches may get an instant notification when a safety issue emerges or a change order is issued.

Workers with a wearable device like Google Glass may be able stream images of a task to remote supervisors for guidance. [Construction Business] — Mike Seemuth

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