Interactive Augmented Reality

August 15, 2013

Augmented reality is still very much a new development in the construction industry. But this doesn’t mean organizations aren’t continually formulating new, compelling ways to use the technology, so it can fulfill what many see as great potential.

One such company is JB Knowledge Technologies, www.jbknowledge.com, Bryan, Texas. This week, the company announced the development of its SmartReality app. With the app, users can focus on a given design or plan file with the camera on their iPad, iPad Mini, or iPhone. The app subsequently recognizes the design, and the screen overlays a virtual model)of what the structure will look like upon completion.

The app also allows users to zoom in or focus on specific areas or elements of their virtual model. By touching their screen, they may remove the outer layer of the model, and see a virtual rendering of the inside of a structure.

But the app offers more than traditional BIM (building information modeling) processes. Using their individual devices, multiple users may also access the app simultaneously, and view the same model simultaneously from different perspectives. A given user can also move their device back and forth between different design renderings, and the app will keep the individual models in its active memory.

In addition, if a device is focused on two different renderings of the same building, they can focus on one model and modify it. When it moves to the second rendering, the app will remember the state in which it left the first model, and display things accordingly. This saves users time as they review documents and data.

Users can visit the SmartReality official website to be placed on a notification list for when the demo app is available in app stores. James Benham, president of JB Knowledge Technologies, says “the future is limitless. There’s a lot of exciting applications that can take this to the next level.”

JB Knowledge Technologies has also published a video of Benham using and explaining the SmartReality app, which can be seen here.

What this next level is, however, remains to be seen. Until recently, augmented reality has arguably been the stuff of movies and TV. But now, industries such as construction are starting to reap the benefits of this technology’s emergence into the real world. In terms of what the next step is, we may only be limited by our own creativity.