The Convergence of Structures, Sensors, Models, & AR


There are some really fascinating innovations & opportunities arising at the convergence of embedded sensors, the built environment, 3D modeling, and augmented reality. Buildings, manufacturing chains, cities, and environments are increasingly communicating their run-time processes through embedded sensors & systems. The data streams pouring off these devices are driving rich visualizations in monitoring dash-boards that give operators & managers high-resolution insight into the state of these systems. Soon, these datastreams will be wired into 3D models – perhaps the very same CAD models that were originally developed to construct a building will live on as a real-time model of it’s living operations. Such models of buildings, civic infrastructure, and the environments in which they’re embedded will provide up-to-the-minute assessments of their operations, from at-a-glance macro overviews to incredibly detailed micro reports. Then model branches – mirrors – could be created to run simulations of future states, eg what happens to traffic if we allow 20% more development on the north end of town?

With augmented reality, the potential exists to bus selective overlays from the model & its datastreams out to augmented interfaces. In this way building/civic managers, code enforcers, first responders, environmental analysts, and many others will be able to see the run-time state of their city/building/ecosystem drawn across the real-world. For example, a broken water main downtown would immediately be reflected in the civic model, pinging the Water Dept. dashboards that then route to a field agent’s mobile who uses their AR head’s-up-display to visibly locate the exact location of the leak for repair, possibly pulling up street schematics and a guided 3D repair manual on-site.

This convergence of the instrumented world and it’s virtual representation, mediated by an augmented reality interface between the two, may yield unprecedented opportunities to model & optimize the very structures of civilization.

[Wow! Looks like Screampoint has a big head-start on this…]

[Autodesk is also working on developing tools for sensor-driven Building Information Modeling (BIM).]

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