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Using AR to help build a complex brick wall (archdaily.com)
83 points by webmonkeyuk 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

Could you imagine how this kind of technology might change something as boring and frustrating as Ikea furniture assembly?

Ikea tries hard to avoid using text in its instructions, because the products are sold in so many countries. So its assembly instructions tend to be very constrained 2D illustrations with simple pictograms.

But it would be so much easier if you could just slap on some AR glasses and visualize in 3D what your next step should be!

You can also find many fans of IKEA instructions.

Consider how you would deal with written instructions that appear to contradict the picture instructions and you'll see why.

All it takes to become a huge fan of IKEA instructions is to purchase and assemble a few items of furniture from other stores.

There is a great section in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about instructions for assembling a bicycle and a barbecue. Pirsig talks about the nature of creating instructions and laying them out and how there are a lot of potential ways to assemble something, but how an author has to chose a single way for their reader.

This discussion leads to him mentioning a favorite excerpt from some instructions he came across: "assembly of a Japanese bicycle requires great peace of mind."

As someone who loved assembling Lego sets as a kid, I legitimately enjoy putting Ikea furniture together, it's a very similar experience

A similar surprisingly novel case for AR headsets: trimmming hedges into complex shapes.

In an AR headset the final desired design is overlayed within the hedge, and you trim the parts outside. Now try to imagine how you might accomplish something similar without an AR headset. It would be very difficult.

People have been doing this longer than recorded history; there's a lot of knowledge about how to take a block of wood/stone/etc and carve away anything that doesn't look like the desired subject.

That said I'm sure there are experts at those methods who would leap at the chance to model their work in more forgiving methods, digital or physical, and use that kind of technology to guide them as they carve!

I've done my share of sculpture in my life - the problems you run into when carving an item down to a desired result is often less about being able see what needs to go, and more about the structure of the underlying material, and whether it will break/crack/shatter when you try to take a specific piece off.

AR could still help - if an app could visually inspect the surface of your material, or the branches of a hedge, it might be able to flag warning signs.

Certainly it's something people are good at, but it requires a lot of skill and expertise!

The method I described with an AR headset makes it something that anyone could do with extremely minimal training.

FWIW hedges are very easy. You build a wire cage in the exact shape you want, then plant the hedge inside the cage. Then you just trim anything that grows outside the cage. It's how they do it at Disneyland.

But for any other material it would be helpful.

I realize this is probably being excessively pessimistic, but couldn't this end up making the work of the skilled trades as soulless and boring as routine assembly line work?

That is to say, whenever there is a discussion of the skilled trades on Hacker News it is mentioned that they often take as much thinking and creativity as white collar jobs. It seems like this sort of technology could change that in at least some situations.

Hmm I don't think so? I feel like that's saying that a measuring tape makes carpentry soulless.

Part of the craft is being able to execute well, and like the article says if this tool helps people do harder stuff more easily, we can end up going towards even more complex designs to compensate.

Good luck running a pass via ar lol.

(Pre edit sorry a pass is a restaurant kitchen serving line).

Pre edit 2: okay that was a bit snarky, but my point is, ar doesn't give you the skills and training, it just helps

Very neat, but I'm not sure what human "intuition" is needed or being used when brick placements are being displayed in AR for you. Seems more like a human bricklayer is just more flexible and much less expensive than setting up a robot rig (and will be for some time).

Is anyone aware of quality forums/email lists/etc. for keeping up to date on AR UI/UX?

This is the only space I see _R taking off for a while. The cost of development is still too high for consumers (and developing for them). Using it for training and virtual modeling is where it shines...for now.

whats stopping them from installing a rail along X,Y,Z axis around the build area (with a robot arm), and having the robot build up the wall instead of humans?

wow, thank you for linking that. that is insane

Probably cost.


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