A new video shows one of the coolest potential use cases we’ve seen yet for Microsoft’s HoloLens: the entire shell of a room constructed using only the headset as a guide.
Though the developer version of HoloLens still costs $3,000, there are a number of industrial and construction applications for which a major one-time expense like HoloLens could lead to enormous cost savings. NASA, for example, is using HoloLens to visualize a Mars rover that hasn’t been constructed yet. When you’re dealing with millions of dollars in expenses to plan and construct a vehicle that’s going to travel to another planet, every dollar saved during the planning process can have a major impact over the long term. Consider that SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos are pretty focused on lowering the cost of space travel. One way of doing that is making rockets last beyond a single use, but another way is to use VR and AR visualization tools to reduce the time spent and number of costly prototypes required to build something. On that kind of scale, $3,000 for a self-contained face computer is an absolute steal.
Now we’ve seen a more down-to-Earth example of this potential demonstrated by way of Scope AR’s augmented reality technology running on HoloLens. Teaming with the Los Angeles-based dry wall subcontractor the Martin Bros., the proof of concept shows a worker constructing the shell of a bathroom guided by zero planning documents. Instead, he saw a 3D model floating in the room indicating where to place the next piece.
“While augmented reality is still in its infancy, the technology has strong, real-world applications today. What we’ve been able to achieve in these demos shows a significant leap forward in the way the construction industry works,” said Scott Montgomerie, CEO and co-founder of Scope AR, in a prepared statement. “The fact that a worker can frame a standard commercial structure without any documentation or a tape measure with noticeable time savings is evidence that AR is sure to take off within the construction industry. The impact goes beyond just saving time in the initial construction phase, but also impacts compliance, safety, inspections, and maintenance.”
According to Cody Nowak, VDC BIM Manager at Martin Bros., the process took about two hours with multiple adjustments required to the setup, but “we did it because we believe technology has reached the point where we can put 200 hundred year old tools aside and adopt more productive, accurate solutions.”