Manufacturing and Construction: The HoloLens Revolutionizes The Future

The HoloLens by Microsoft is now making its way into industrial sectors. From construction to manufacturing, businesses are now finding ways as to how this technology can benefit them. Engineers at the University of Cambridge are working vigorously to test its potential for construction engineers. Using mixed reality technology, they are studying its usefulness to spot defects on critical infrastructure and assist with maintenance. This can help utility locating companies detect any underground wirings, etc. before construction to make sure there are no issues during building.

This latest project is part of a collaboration between the University of Cambridge’s Construction Information Technology (CIT) Laboratory and Trimble, a California-based company providing technology for construction, geospatial, agriculture and transportation industries. What they’re proposing could have a profound impact on all these industries and beyond.

Having the ability to be essentially on-site even when a project is hundreds or thousands of miles away can reduce costs and even lead to a more accurate assessment. Workers at a location can take pictures of a structure using a digital single-lens reflex camera and then upload them to a cloud service. Safety experts and engineers are able to digitally stitch these images together and with the HoloLens, zoom in and out of the bridge or road, rotate and essentially walk around the structure from anywhere around the globe.

“The construction sector is undergoing rapid transformation as a result of the revolution in digital engineering. The university has a wide portfolio of research projects which aim to solve problems in the construction sector.” said Dr. Ioannis Brilakis. (

It’s not only the construction sector undergoing a rapid digital transformation, the manufacturing industry is right alongside them. Manufacturers may have facilities all over the world and the HoloLens can increase the efficiency of plant inspections. However, improving the inspection process isn’t the only advantage the HoloLens offers. Engineers at NASA are utilizing mixed reality to help manufacture the next Mars rover.

With the HoloLens, manufacturers and engineers can see a 3D virtual model of the product they’re working to construct. Being able to see how the end-product is supposed to look and having the ability to zoom in or fit physical components to the virtual model and ensure they fit can have a dramatic impact on the efficiency of a project. The HoloLens is so advanced it can even show a manufacturer if the physical component doesn’t fit specifications or will alert them if it’s a perfect match. Having this kind of technology on the shopfloor may prove invaluable.

As of now the HoloLens comes with a $25,000 price tag. Out of reach of some smaller shops, the device is sure to come down in price as with any new technology making its way to the industry. Furthermore, the applications are only just beginning to show themselves. As more manufacturers get their hands on the technology, more solutions and uses will soon become apparent.

Check back at Manufacturing Talk Radio for the latest developments focused on the manufacturing industry. See what new technology is making its way to the industry and how it might impact business around the world.