Contractor Uses ‘Augmented Reality’ to Assemble Trusses on Jobsite

Originally published by: Construction DiveJune 10, 2020

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Worker using augmented reality goggles to assemble the trusses onsite

Dive Brief:

  • Boston-based Windover Construction is pioneering a method combining 3D modeling with prefabrication and augmented reality to speed up truss production and installation.
  • On a $32 million project in Massachusetts, the company used data from 3D modeling of an existing building to design and manufacture 935 trusses made from cold-formed steel and delivered them to the jobsite within three days, according to Amr Raafat, Windover’s vice president of VDC and technology. 
  • Workers used augmented reality goggles to assemble the trusses onsite and installed them in the building in three days, saving an estimated $90,000, Raafat said. 

Dive Insight:

At the Autodesk Technology Center in Boston, Windover printed the trusses from steel in eight different pieces, which were then shipped to the jobsite. Raafat described the installation process like a manual for constructing furniture, except the heads up AR display in the goggles gives step-by-step instructions without a worker needing to turn pages or look away from the task at hand.

Raafat, Autodesk’s 2019 Innovator of the Year, said the key to developing new solutions is thinking outside the box in terms of what a technology solution can do. For example, he said most think of 3D models and scanning as means for visualization of projects, either as built or as plans. Using coding, Raafat was able to translate the modeling into constructing already-designed solutions.

“Most people use the 3D model to visualize,” Raafat said. “We’re trying to unify the 3D model with the manufacturing of things.”

Raafat won the Autodesk Innovator of the Year award for using drones not as video documentation, but specifically for mapping and 3D modeling of as-built jobsites to maintain continuity of workflow.