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Microsoft and Trimble, University of Cambridge to bring mixed reality to the construction industry

Microsoft today took to the Windows Devices Blog to announce that they have teamed up with Trimble and the University of Cambridge to bring mixed reality to the construction industry.  This first of its kind collaboration has the goal of providing construction sector stakeholders with the information they need to make informed decisions and will empower companies to be more innovative and efficient.

Microsoft mentions that the collaboration has two exciting technology trials. First up is Automated Progress Monitoring, a way to address one of the most laborious, time-consuming and error-prone procedures in the industry: the demand to regularly, and manually, inspect remote structures. It is explained:

The process is currently conducted through visual inspections, form filling and report writing, and is made particularly painstaking by the need to extract information from different drawings and databases. The new trial revolutionises the process by presenting all physical and digital information through HoloLens, allowing inspectors to check, cross-reference and report on inspections very quickly, and collaborate with site representatives.

Second is Automated Bridge Damage Detection, which eliminates the need of sending structural engineers to each bridge as part of its inspection routine through discoveries generated via the collaboration. The company explains:

Rather than sending structural engineers to each bridge as part of its inspection routine, through discoveries generated via the collaboration, high-resolution images can be taken by local teams and sent to inspection engineers. These are then automatically mapped onto 3D models of the respective bridge. Structural engineers can then review the integrity of a bridge in mixed reality using HoloLens, making recommendations for repairs or other preventative measures. This reduces costs and is more efficient, making sure bridges do not enter their ‘failure zone’, leading to major road closures and disruption.

HoloLens being used in Construction

HoloLens being used in Construction

Microsoft believes that the two trials will “bring productivity and sustainability gains for the sector across the world”.  The company also envisions a future where mixed reality could be used by construction workers to “make it easier for them to accurately position materials or make welding joints, ultimately improving productivity for all workers.”

HoloLens is no stranger to the many industries of the world. Volvo has tested Microsoft’s HoloLens to speed up car production,  NASA has used it on the Space Station, and Japan Airlines has used the mixed reality device for teaching mechanics and flight crew trainees. As always, let us know what you think of this latest news by dropping us a comment below, and be sure to visit our HoloLens news hub so you never will miss a single minute of HoloLens news and information!

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How would you use HoloLens in the construction industry?