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AR app turns 3D models into life-size building instructions

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The blueprint comes to life

Bricklayers using augmented reality headset
Bricklayers using Fologram with AR headsets.

Augmented reality has given the design world interactive postage stamps, digital tape measures, and the ability to visualize Ikea furniture in your apartment. That’s all well and good, but let’s face it: Up to this point AR hardly been the transformational technology designers have dreamed it to be.

Fologram might change that. The Australian company has been working on AR applications that help designers, builders, and engineers project their virtual designs into the real world through AR glasses like HoloLens.

Think of Fologram as a virtual instruction guide (Fologram is a portmanteau of “follow the hologram”). Pulling data from CAD software like Rhino and Grasshopper, Fologram uses HoloLens or a mobile phone to overlay a 3D design onto the physical world, effectively creating a blueprint for builders to work from.

In a recent example, bricklayers in Tasmania used the software to build a curving red brick wall in six hours. Donning a HoloLens headset, the builders visualized exactly where each brick should be placed, laying layer after layer of masonry as if they were filling in a blank page of a coloring book.

Fologram’s software is focusing on the basics of interaction—you can use hand gestures and choose how much of a model to visualize—but it’s a glimpse at the promise of mixed reality. The founders say the software can be used across the building industry, from engineers who want to visualize simulations at full-scale to architects who want to show off their vision to stakeholders, to fabricators who can use holographic overlays as an affordable alternative to CNC machines.

Curious to try it out? Fologram is available for desktop and mobile. You can download here.