Design Visualisation - Augmented Models

Traditional physical models are a great tool with which to understand buildings and convey information about scale, building context, form, and materiality, among others. AR fuses the animation capacity of the virtual with the intuitive tactility of a physical model.

But to simply recreate a physical model using augmented reality misses the point of this technology, which affords so much more. Rather than recreate past workflows, the value-add of AR for modelling is to go beyond physical models, and show what they cannot: '4D' information with a time component, such as traffic flows or shadow studies. Retaining the physical tactility of a real-world model, and overlaying time-sensitive virtual data can lead to new, augmented models that enable a slightly different way of seeing - and interacting- with intangibles during the design stage.

Currently one of the most common augmented modelling is the straight AR overlay of a 3d computer model onto a flat 2D building plan, as in the below video by SmartReality. As the technology develops, AR will allow further opportunity to interact with different layers of data and levels of detail. Augmented Models may not only switch between structural, mechanical or hydraulic systems, but overlay structural forces, or air and water flows as needed, all while sharing the same base plan, or physical model for reference.

While not for every project, and clearly application-specific, augmented models herald more intuitive ways of looking at data. 

Smart Reality - An augmented reality solution for visualizing the job site
Posted 05 September 2013
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