Although the sales of Microsoft's Augmented Reality (AR) headset HoloLens has not been very promising yet, it is helping put civil engineers build blueprints of a building, making their work easy and less time consuming.
Microsoft has collaborated with University of Cambridge's construction IT lab and is helping engineers use HoloLens to overlay a design onto a real world bridge or building (or vice-versa), making inspections simpler and safer.
"We have never been able to bring 3D models from buildings and bridges off our screens and onto the real structure," technology website Engadget quoted University of Cambridge's Ionnis Brilakis as saying.
There were two potential use cases for the HoloLens.
"In the first, called 'automated progress monitoring', inspectors can 'bring the design information to the construction site' via Microsoft's HoloLens Sketchup Viewer," said student Marianna Kopsida.
That way, engineers can visualise relevant engineering data onsite in order to check building progress and take corrective actions where needed.
In the other scenario, inspectors take high resolution photos on the building site, collect the data and overlay it onto a 3D model of the project.
"This copy is fully textured, data-rich and an exact replica that can be used for condition testing ... to find problems with the structure," says Cambridge researcher Philipp Huethwohl.
This would let inspectors avoid physical inspections, keeping them out of danger and allowing bridges and other structures to remain open.
Recently, the commercial viability of Hololens headset came into question following comments by HoloLens commercial lead Roger Walkden about the sales of the device.
He revealed that the sales for Hololens are only in the thousands after almost a year of availability.
The Microsoft HoloLens became available for preorder in October, with the Development Edition ($4,369) and Commercial Suite ($7,269) to start shipping in late November for Australian customers.