There's a lot of talk about how virtual reality will one day change the entire landscape of the construction idustries - few have actually seen that future coming to fruition.

Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Company, a commercial construction firm, has been putting Microsoft's HoloLens to the test to see what the future will look like. For example, Gilbane senior manager John Myers used the headset to see a mockup of the project and recognize that the steel frames he had planned to order would be too long. He was able to fix the order right away instead of relying on his own workers to adjust them onsite - saving roughly $5,000 in labor costs.

Gilbane says the $3,000 HoloLens, which it received in mid-June, has already shown its value. It was while viewing life-size 3-D models of Dearborn STEM Academy, a $70 million, 120,000-square-foot school Gilbane is constructing in Boston, that Myers spotted the frame-length issue. “That one catch paid for the HoloLens,” he says.

Gilbane vice president Sue Klawans says HoloLens could also be used before a building is constructed to detect flaws in the way ducts and pipes are laid out in office ceilings—a complicated process that often takes up more room than anticipated—and in building designs that feature glass “curtain” walls, which sometimes require more than 10 different contractors to fabricate.

Read more >