The reality-virtuality continuum is the long-winded name for the set of technologies that deal with putting virtual elements into the physical world. On one side of the spectrum, there’s reality–the real-life objects, emotions, and experiences you witness every day. On the opposite side, there is virtuality, things that only exist in the virtual world. When you hear about virtual reality headsets like Google Cardboard in the news, for example, that’s a form of virtuality. The continuum exists because, as of the past few years, it has gotten more and more difficult to classify things as either reality or virtuality. Often times, virtual worlds are integrated into the real world, or the real world is embellished with small virtual elements. When messy circumstances like these occur in the grey area between black-and-white reality and virtuality, they become mixed reality.
Mixed reality (MR) has infinite applications, from video games to experience-based learning, but one of the most powerful is the ability to take data and project it into the real world. Called mixed reality visualization, this seamless blending of physical space with virtual projection is a simple yet powerful new application of virtual reality. Once a user puts on a MR headset, they can see the world with an additional layer of information. This visualization could be as simple as numbers and words or as complex as art or blueprints.
A huge technology with wide-reaching applications, mixed reality visualization is useful for virtually any industry. Construction, however, may be the most perfect industry for mixed reality today. Combined with building information modeling (BIM) technologies that allow architects to create 3D space plans integrated with cost, efficiency, and time data, MR visualization has enormous power in the field. A few examples of how builders and architects can use this technology include:
Previewing a finished project before you even begin. With MR, you can look at a room or a lot as it will be when it is finished before lifting a finger in the construction process. It has never been easier to project what a space might look like when finished, what might not fit, and whether the product will be aesthetically pleasing.
Changing plans in real time and real space. With BIM technology, it’s possible to change plans in real time and instantly send the data across teams. But when you add MR visualization to your toolbox, you can change plans and watch them transform in the space itself.
Gaining insight into invisible factors affecting the build. Do you have heat-sensitive materials on your construction site? MR thermal maps can project a real-time analysis of the area’s heat patterns onto the components themselves. Trying to take a difficult measurement? MR tools can pick up on the space’s dimensions and component sizes. There are countless software tools that you can add into a MR helmet to make your build easier. If these applications of mixed reality visualization for the construction industry excite you, get in touch with INDBIM. One of India’s premier building information modeling companies, we take pride in incorporating cutting edge technologies like MR into our work.