Augmented reality on professional and players’ wish list

PhD candidate Markus Broecker builds new possibilities when virtual and real worlds collide. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
PhD candidate Markus Broecker builds new possibilities when virtual and real worlds collide.

The virtual and augmented reality race is on. If you’re a gamer, headsets are the next hot ticket item. If you’re a professional in construction or architecture your work life is about to move to 3D with designs leaping off the written plan onto real land plots that your client can walk through.

Program Director of UniSA’s undergraduate degree in construction management, Dr Rameez Rameezdeen has embraced virtual and augmented reality and is keen to prepare students for a digitally enhanced career, training them to use the latest augmented reality technology.

“I can see the construction profession is moving towards the use of augmented reality and we’ve changed our programs to reflect the importance of this new technology,” Dr Rameezdeen said

It’s all about giving our students experience before they’ve started in a construction career,” Dr Rameezdeen said.

“Site visits are an important part of developing students’ real-world knowledge but often these places are a bustling hive of activity, so access is limited.

“With our new $179,000 3D upgrade, funded by the School of Natural and Built Environments and the Information Strategy and Technology Unit at UniSA, students have unlimited access to virtual construction sites. The facility gives them the freedom to learn at their own pace, and at a time that works for them.”

Co-Director of UniSA’s Wearable Computer Lab, Professor Bruce Thomas agrees that augmented reality will have a greater presence in our professional and personal lives.

“Augmented reality has a number of benefits. For the building industry, you can walk through an environment and estimate any costs as a result of plan changes,” Prof Thomas said.

“It also gives building occupants a geometric sense of physical features and where they should go, solving any foreseen issues on the spot.

“The technology is at a point where it would be very achievable to cycle through 3D house designs while on location at your vacant block of land.

“Imagine cycling through house designs: you could immediately identify issues, see the view from windows and decide on your favourite design all in situ.

“All it would take to progress this technology is the right investor.

“With mobile and instantaneous experiences such as these, this technology will be in demand from clients. This has already started to take effect in the gaming industry.

“We are on the brink of a surge in head mounted displays, with big players investing heavily in this technology; they’ll not let it fail. It will be a must-have on this year’s Christmas list.”

After working with virtual technology for 18 years at the Wearable Computer Lab, Prof Thomas is excited about it finally becoming a reality for gamers and industry applications.