Mixed reality (MR) technology has attracted increasing interest in the architecture and construction industry since the commercial availability of head-mounted MR devices in 2016. With its ability of overlaying digital building models in real construction sites, building owners, architects, engineers, and contractors have quickly recognized the value of MR technology in on-site architectural visualization, construction planning, and as-built verification. Although a few industry practitioners have piloted some initial tests, no thorough reviews on such uses have been reported in the existing literature. To bridge this gap in the body of knowledge, this study aims to evaluate the use of MR technology in architectural design and construction layout through a comparative review of commercially available MR applications. The study employed two HoloLens devices that were attached to a hard hat to meet construction safety regulations and identified nine MR applications developed for architectural and construction purposes. The capabilities of MR technology within these applications were evaluated and compared under different on-site conditions for architectural design and construction layout. It was found that among the various MR capabilities, while some are common features that offer basic information and navigation, several are unique but essential to provide an effective and successful on-site experience for architectural and construction uses. In addition, the limitations of MR technology and the head-mounted MR device for on-site uses were discussed. This paper provides timely and empirical information to help practitioners and researchers better understand MR technology for the architecture and construction industry.
Key words: Mixed reality, technology, application, architecture, construction.
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