Will using augmented reality on the job kill you?

Well, probably not. But it will certainly enhance your engineering and design project collaboration

By Amara Rozgus February 3, 2020

I read an interesting article recently about how the Canadian military admitted to having a lot of trouble with civilians entering its military bases and wandering around, seemingly lost. Starting in July 2016, people started driving onto the bases, distracted by their cell phones. The military had no idea what to make of it. 

Anyone who has a kid the right age (or who is a kid at heart) knows that this is about the time that Niantic released the augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go. Like the rest of the franchise, which started in 1996 in Japan, it has become a phenomenon with more than 1 billion downloads globally since its release. Friends of mine went to great lengths to search for Pokémon, Pokéstops and Pokégyms. I’m not aware that they visited any military bases in the United States or Canada, but they were certainly focused on their phones all the time. 

This augmented reality game caused a lot of issues. People started falling off curbs and into fountains — check online for funny videos — and some sources attribute as many as 150,000 auto accidents to the game within the first yearLives and money were lost. In my experience, quality time with my two friends was definitely lost.  

Virtual reality — and in this case, augmented reality — are not entirely new. While augmented reality can be traced back to the 1950s and ‘60s in it most rudimentary form, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it became more mainstream. Computers, headsets and the real world started to come together. It’s probably best known for its use in gaming, manufacturing, military training and education. 

Augmented reality has really taken off in the past few years, particularly in building engineering. A host of head-mounted display options, like glasses and goggles, have applications in the world of computer-aided design by allowing the user to see 3D digital data as it would appear in the real world. For most working in this field, digital data already exists or can easily be created in the form of 3D models from their CAD software. 

Some engineering firms virtually design, say, a hospital operating room suite as a marketing tool. Or they might collaborate with the owner, building trades and specialists to create a live model of a room or wing of the hospital. Augmented reality can help building owners visualize what their new building will look like in context. By holding up a tablet, they can see the completed building in relation to its surroundings. 

The collaborative aspects of augmented reality — including 3D laser scanning of a site, clash detection and the interactive building information model — can launch a project to the next level.  

While it’s not always right for every project, and certainly not right for those who cannot walk and stare at their phones at the same time, augmented reality can definitely earn you points with clients.  

Watch this title for more information about modeling, software and tech tools.

Author Bio: Amara Rozgus is the Editor-in-Chief/Content Strategy Leader