Daqri, Microsoft developing smart glasses for construction
- Los Angeles-based Daqri released its Smart Glasses augmented reality wearable for the construction industry in conjunction with the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show.
- Microsoft is likewise looking to introduce AR wearables this year by working with the University of Cambridge to adapt the firm’s Hololens smart glasses for rugged job site conditions, according to Forbes.
- Both smart glasses promise access to real-time equipment, worker and job site data with project rendering overlays and AR cameras to enable remote repair and maintenance.
Already well-known for its smart helmet that provides thermal imaging in addition to AR overlays, Daqri looks to be first to market with construction-specific AR glasses. Daqri's Smart Glasses feature fingerprint ID scanning to access secure files, and Intel RealSense LR200 Depth Sensor on top of a Core m7 processor and a detachable Compute Pack for storing and sharing recorded image and project data.
While virtual reality is enjoying wider adoption for applications including design charrettes to safety training, augmented reality has struggled to become a mainstream technology on U.S. job sites. In October 2016, Mortenson Construction's senior director of project solutions Ricardo Khan told Construction Dive that the firm expects AR to ultimately revolutionize how field teams leverage information and contextual knowledge for safer, higher-quality decision-making on the job site. Tony Colonna, Skanska USA senior vice president for innovation and construction solutions, also said that pursuing real-time data and actionable analytics via AR is on the company’s R&D hotlist even as the technology still presents deployment challenges.
Remote repair and maintenance looks to be a clear proof of concept application for AR in the construction industry. In November 2016, Caterpillar provided Scope AR with a license to provide augmented reality-based live video and voice support services to field maintenance professionals in the company's dealer network, which is expected to significantly improve equipment down time and associated costs.