- According to sources who Bloomberg characterized as "familiar with the matter," augmented reality company Daqri is discreetly looking for at least $200 million in private investment.
- The company is reportedly in search of cash in order to further advance its $15,000 safety helmet product, which allows industrial workers to see a digital overlay on top of a real-life view of existing site conditions.
- If Daqri manages to raise $200 million, that would mark one of the biggest investments ever into "young" fields like augmented and virtual reality. The Los Angeles-based company — which, according to Bloomberg, has been somewhat secretive about its efforts to raise capital — has previously said it raised $15 million in private equity in 2013.
Microsoft's HoloLens and the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift are similar products to the Daqri offering, but no such virtual or augmented reality headwear has yet to catch on with the general public. Because a Florida-based competitor, Magic Leap, has managed to raise $1.3 billion from a variety of investors, Daqri's chances of drawing in the necessary cash looks promising.
Construction companies with the resources to invest in the latest virtual and augmented reality gear have discovered that being able to construct a building before even stepping onsite saves time and money by the time the project is complete. Michael Gonzalez, preconstruction director at McCarthy Building Companies, told Construction Dive earlier this year, "It's much easier to find a conflict using a computer and correct it before you actually try to install it."
And Stacy Scopano, senior construction industry strategy manager at Autodesk, said the proliferation of 3-D modeling software and capabilities, massive computing power, and industry leaders developing heads-up display hardware like the Daqri Smart Helmet and Microsoft HoloLens are all factors leading toward the tipping point for virtual reality in construction.
According to the MIT Technology Review, augmented reality has been tested in the field by such companies as Gilbane Building Co. and AECOM. MIT reported that Gilbane was able to save approximately $5,000 after a HoloLens system caught a design flaw. While the company told MIT that augmented reality tools would be useful to them in the future, "bugs" like the lack of peripheral vision, a lack of sturdiness and the possibility of disorientation in dangerous job site situations would need to be worked out before companies rely on them full-time.