Augmented reality, or AR for short, is a real-time duplicate of an actual physical environment, only the elements are augmented by a computer-generated input. While virtual reality takes the real world and replaces it with a simulated version, augmented reality adds to it instead. If you are an architect, that addition could be a 3D model of a structure you designed.
Augmented reality in architecture and construction projects places a 3D model onto an existing space. It has been used in video games for years but became a tool in construction only recently, when contractors used it to present proposed designs on construction sites.
For a while, AR was confined mainly to construction, engineering, and architecture firms with large technology departments, but now it is available on a project-by-project basis so that smaller companies and entrepreneurs can use it.
SmartReality is a popular augmented reality app that can be used on a per-project basis. Viewable on an Android or iOs device, it places a 3D model where specified and, when users focus their cameras on a given plan file or design, the screen overlays a virtual image of what the project will look like when complete.
Augmented reality has construction and design uses beyond visualization. It can analyse designs and detect problems as well as let the contractor and architect collaborate on changes that must be made prior to construction. It can even help pre-fabricate building components.
Building information modelling (BIM) and augmented reality are two new technologies in construction that allow architectural and construction firms to assess how a structure will hold up over time. Other benefits appear below.