A review of mixed-reality applications in Construction 4.0
Recently, the advent of powerful mixed-reality software and devices – backed by remarkable advances in computer processing power, low latency tracking and display technologies – has enabled the development and spread of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) solutions across the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations and Facility Management (AECO-FM) industry. VR and AR are mixed-reality technologies for advanced visualization and simulation. Therefore, they can enhance the cognitive capabilities of users who perform tasks that rely on or benefit from access to visual information, and can be used to improve the understanding, communication and sharing of visual data. Efficient mixed-reality solutions enable users to effectively and intuitively navigate the virtual or augmented space while interacting with, generating, modifying and extracting data. Ultimately, mixed-reality technologies are used to create alternative visual information environments where users have direct and intuitive access to relevant data and consequent increased decision-making and task performance abilities. Many research institutions and industry practitioners worldwide have been exploring the benefits and investigating the challenges associated with VR and AR implementation in various construction activities. In truth, mixed-reality technology has already started to revolutionize the way construction professionals perform many of their tasks, with great impacts on design environments, training programs, construction and facility management. This chapter focuses on VR and AR technologies in the Construction 4.0, describing their principles and differences, operation and latest devices, main applications and major impacts. The chapter closes with a short conclusion section followed by a summary section comprising the key concepts discussed.