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Mixed-reality technology trialled

Mixed reality headsets - Aecom engineers review structural connection detail

The world’s first use of Microsoft Hololens “mixed-reality” technology for engineering and construction is being trialled by Aecom and Trimble.

The technology comprises a lightweight headset, through which Hololens technology adds holograms of 3D objects into the user’s view. This allows interaction with the virtual objects as if they were present.

Consultant Aecom said that Trimble’s mixed-reality solutions allowed it to feed 3D engineering models into the Hololens world, including models of large or complex projects.

Aecom added that it was deploying Hololens devices and Trimble technologies to real-world projects, including the Serpentine Galleries’ annual architecture programme in London. The mixed-reality technology supplemented conventional working practices and improved communication, collaboration and visualisation, it said.

“Exploring complex structures in a mixed-reality environment has huge potential to accelerate the engineering design process,” said Aecom president Stephen Kadenacy. “With this technology we can gain greater clarity earlier in the design review process than with 2D drawings or 3D models on screen, and team members in different locations, each wearing a headset, can simultaneously explore the same holographic projections. We’re very excited to be working with Trimble at the cutting edge of mixed reality.”

By using the system, Trimble said that engineers could view a complex structure as if it were a 3D model placed on a table, or zoom in to a full scale view that simulated what it would be like to move through its structural framework.

It said that this shared experience allowed team members to physically point out potential difficulties or unforeseen conflicts in an evolving design.

As part of the trial, the new technology is being deployed in London, Hong Kong and Denver. With the new system, Aecom said that it would now be able to share the same holographic models around the world simultaneously, with their movements and interactions linked together via the internet.

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