Using augmented reality in construction engineering

by Marianna Kopsida on 6 February 2017

The project that I am working on has given me contacts, opportunities and exposure. I am trying to automate progress monitoring inspection for buildings under construction using augmented reality. Augmented reality is an exciting technology and working with Microsoft HoloLens makes my project even more exciting! Microsoft HoloLens is a new mixed reality device that can revolutionize the way we work and interact with virtual models.

Recently, I appeared in a film made by the University (watch here) to help promote the product for Microsoft and Trimble. This blog gives me the opportunity to explain more about my work, and how it will be used in the future in construction engineering.

I studied Civil Engineering for 5 years in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece before studying a Masters at the same University in Engineering Project management. When I saw this PhD position advertised, it appealed to me because it combined civil engineering, construction and technology.

The thought of developing new technologies excited me.

The construction industry has lapsed behind many other industries in the area of automation, and monitoring the progress of construction projects is currently a laborious and slow process, requiring project managers to be on site and to constantly compare notes and images to see how the project being built compares to the project plans.

The Microsoft HoloLens allows us to bring design information to the construction site. Matching the 3D design model with the real building under construction allows us to automate progress monitoring by simply walking around the site. Inspectors can use this to automatically check the construction progress, identify problems and take timely corrective actions. This way, we can prevent time and cost overruns during the construction phase.  It is still in the early stages of development, but when the product is launched it will revolutionize the way that construction projects are managed.

My time on the project will end this year and I plan to stay in the same area of work. I enjoy understanding problems and developing products to solve them. My work here has convinced me that this line of work is what I want to do.

It was hard when I first arrived here because I was working on something completely new to me, but overall I think that Cambridge is a wonderful place to be and Lucy Cavendish College has provided a friendly and supportive living environment.

I hope to work in the UK or the USA in the future, but ultimately the area of work is more important to me than the location.

Watch the film of Marianna at work here and read more from the Department of Engineering here.