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Industry Study
Name: Andres Cedeno

Enhancing BIM with Augmented & Virtual Reality

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the latest technological improvements that has
taken over the construction industry. This is due the way BIM utilizes virtual reality and places it
to support every aspect of construction, i.e. design and planning, construction scheduling, 5D
BIM for cost estimation, energy efficiency in buildings and facility management is something we
may have never imagine some years ago.
Building information modeling is constantly taking over design, engineering, planning, quality
control and project delivery with its ability to illustrate construction projects in 3D. Only few
people are good at visualizing the result of 2D plans in 3D. Building information models show
them the way.
Nowadays, a new technology that seems to have come with a promise that will transform BIM
and improve the way construction industry visualizes buildings and accomplishes projects. BIM
and the building construction overall will get more intuitive, interactive and communicative.
The next movement is that of augmented reality (AR) and it is catching up with the construction
industry professionals and BIM specialists.
Some say AR is one of the most promising new technologies to be used on construction sites
today while others say its abilities are inflated and there’s no room for improvement. What is
known is that mobile app developers are helping the construction industry appreciate AR
technology as a new instrument for their purposes.
AR and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are less likely to substitute than to complement CAD,
BIM, and the paper plans, Most people in the business are not so good at visualizing the intent of
the design and environment of projects, but with the usage of type of technologies it helps the
owners, constructors and architects communicate their vision for the building, in ways that
wasn’t possible in the past.

Designers and architects have for a long time depended on paper, physical representations, field
visits, and, more recently, digital tools to carry progress on a project.
Earlier this year, Autodesk confirmed plans to make 3D models created in a selection of its
software programs compatible with Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality (AR) technology.
Microsoft used this augmented reality and came up with a way to create ‘a realistic, 3-D
environment’ with what can be called a break-through technology revolution.
Augmented Reality - As the name suggests, it’s a live, reproduced view of a physical, real-world
environment, where all the elements are augmented through computer-generated sensory input
and of use of 3d graphics.
Usage of the so called “Augmented Reality” has been improving and advancing over the last 4-5
years, from academic research into new practical usage of applications that can be used in the
A new application on the usage of AR is the latest beta-release of an AR mobile app called
The application effectively represents a Revit BIM model overlaid on 2D plans. The first thing
that comes into mind is the possibility of having a project team in a design review meeting
zooming in on the 3D BIM model with the ability to highlight different aspects of the project,
explode the model to expose details and discuss options.
This app allows users of Android and iOS mobile devices to view interactive 3D building models
rendered over paper plan files. The company says that users will experience “unprecedented
levels of project visualization and collaboration.”

SmartReality was designed for the construction and engineering industry and works with many
3D software programs, including Revit, the company says. It allows users to turn 2D plans into
interactive 3D models on a tablet or through a VR headset like the Oculus Rift VR and Epson's
Moverio BT-200 smart glasses.
There’s also a version of the app compatible with tablets that run Google’s Project Tango
scanning software and allows users to walk through a floor plan while the virtual model appears
around them.
Future plans include integrating Leap Motion software for the Oculus Rift VR, allowing gesture-
driven commands that let individuals wearing the headset visualize a design over a period of
time in a single sitting. “You can walk into a building and make a circle with your hands. It’ll
then step forward through the schedule so you can watch the building be built around you,”
The advent of wearable computers that can take augmented and virtual reality mobile may not be
quite as momentous as the first PCs or the internet, but it does combine those two breakthroughs
in a way that opens the door to communicating with holograms.

I think this idea as it is perfect for development of structural details, piping, mechanical design
and so on it’s really nice and useful idea.

Augmented and virtual reality are ready to change the way architects, owners, contractors sell
and manage projects, though much of the headset hardware capable of extending the technology
to project sites is still on development stages.

This new technology is very favorable towards construction productivity, AR uses computer-
generated objects to real-world backgrounds while VR engages users in a digital replication of a
real (or soon to be real) environment; but it comes with its challenges.

Questions for the future of this technology will be which gadgets people will use to interact with
AR visualizations—smartphones, tablets, virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift, wearables
like Google Glass, or something completely new.
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