Laying a brick wall–a normal, straight one–is fairly easy and inexpensive. But building complex shapes using bricks is extremely difficult, since it requires an extraordinarily minute level of control and consistency. Only very experienced construction crews can realize them, at a prohibitively expensive and time-intensive price. That’s one reason most architects resist the temptation of going all Antoni Gaudí in their work.
This AR software is changing that. As ArchDaily reports, software developer Fologram has created a way for builders to quickly replicate complex, organic designs in brick–with the help of an augmented reality headset.
Fologram’s app is simple to use: It takes a file from the 3D modeling program Rhino and translates it into instructions that are projected into the heads-up display of a Hololens–Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses.Wearing these lenses, constructions crews can actually see where to put each brick to achieve a complicated structure. The cameras and positioning sensors in the Hololens indicates where to lay the first line of bricks, and then analyzes each layer’s precise angles to adapt its instructions as the wall rises.
While other construction startups have used robotic arms to accomplish the same task, the team behind Folograms argues that machines can’t adapt to the unpredictability of most construction sites, saying, “even the most sophisticated computer vision algorithms cannot match the intuition and skill of a trained bricklayer.” Whether or not robots adapt to the unique skills of construction labor, this is a beautiful, practical application of AR in the real world–one that shows the power of humans and machines working together.