Apple 3D Head-Tracking – The Ultimate Display for Construction Plans

by Houston Neal

The latest talk of the town in the Apple blogosphere is 3D head-tracking. Apple recently filed a patent for technology that allows users to change perspective of an object by moving their head or body. So instead of dragging your mouse to rotate a graph or chart, you simply look behind it; a more intuitive approach (at least in the eyes of Apple engineers). Here’s a quick video of how this could be used to view 3D construction plans:

With all the attention augmented reality is getting, we’re not surprised to see big players like Apple experimenting with this genre of technology. Novelty aside, there seems to be endless applications. We think the technology would be great for the construction industry. Combined with construction software, contractors could use it to visualize complex construction projects, like the example above which uses 3D building models from Synchro software.

Rumor has it the technology could also be used with more traditional 2D images like electronic building plans (i.e. digital blueprints). Using the iSight camera to detect head movement, users could potentially scroll up and down or left and right by moving their head.

At Software Advice, we’d like to see this work with takeoff and estimating software, a system that allows contractors to measure areas and lengths to determine quantities of construction materials (e.g. how many 2×4s are needed to build a wall). This is currently accomplished by tracing an electronic plan with a mouse or digital pen. Could the same activity be performed with a head nod?

It’s probably a few years before any of this technology trickles down to the construction industry. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on other ways – and other industries – that this could be used with.

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About the Author

Travis Reinke is the Chief Editor and Founder of BIMable and has over 18 years of experience in 3D modeling and rendering, planning, design, and Building Information Modeling (BIM). Mr. Reinke has implemented and managed numerous BIM projects on an international level. He has and continues to work closely with the industry to provide implementation, training and support on more complete and effective use of BIM.