Minority Report, HoloLens and Procore’s Preview

  • The motion- and voice-activated AR technology that Hollywood once envisioned appears to be here;
  • Since April’s release of HoloLens developer kits, firms have been experimenting with applications;
  • Procore (below) and UCLA last week released videos of potential uses for multiple AEC disciplines. 

Lest we forget, it was just six months ago that Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski famously heralded the dawn of a new era, a time he predicted would come to be known as the “Augmented Age“.

Skip ahead to last month, when Microsoft finally sent out highly anticipated developer kits for its new HoloLens Augmented Reality headset to curious customers all over the world. Over the last 30+ days, many firms across many industries have been playing with the new toy, experimenting with all sorts of applications. (Google the word ‘HoloLens’ and you will see plenty of diverse variations.)

Just Friday, for instance, UCLA Architecture Prof. Greg Lynn was featured at WinBeta.org, describing how he is using HoloLens to prepare his entry for the upcoming 2016 Venice Biennale, where he is the lone U.S. representative. Prof. Lynn teaches architecture and urban design at UCLA, where his ongoing work now involves the “ultra-redesign” of a mile-long, 50-year-old abandoned factory in Detroit MI. Below, aided by HoloLens, he explains the ambitious project.

As compelling as the historic plight of Detroit may be, the folks in Carpinteria CA feel like they may be on to something that could be used on jobsites, both big and small, across the U.S. Procore Technologies received two new developer kits in April and within just 30 days produced the short video at the top of this story. According to the company, the video shows “an actual running prototype of Procore running on HoloLens. This is not a CGI video.”

“We’re very excited about AR’s potential now, but we have only scratched the surface of what’s possible”

— Will Lehrmann, Director of product management, Procore

Specifically, it shows a project manager visiting a jobsite and using a HoloLens headset programmed with a Procore construction software RFI prototype to leave instructions for the field superintendent. The practice would allow for real-time progress notes to be made and left at an actual physical location on the jobsite to which they refer. So this is a tangible preview of what the construction industry should be imagining when asked how augmented reality (AR) can assist in daily routines, explains Procore.

“We are constantly exploring innovative technologies and working with customers to understand how they can improve the industry,” says Will Lerhmann, Procore’s director of product management. “We’re very excited about AR’s potential now, but we have only scratched the surface of what’s possible.”

Yes, buckle up, World. The “Augmented Age” has left the station, and it is now moving forward.