Smart Glasses for Historical Buildings AR Inspections

The application of smart glasses in the most various fields is growing, as the advantages offered by wearable devices in Augmented Reality are becoming more and more evident. One of these is undoubtedly production efficiency and the safety of the experts in the field. The latter is a fundamental aspect, especially when it comes to high altitude inspections of historical buildings, such as churches, monuments, palaces, castles, which are but a few examples of the immense historical, cultural and artistic heritage of Italy. But there’s more.

In fact, smart glasses allow experts to carry out more accurate inspections and structural surveys of high value historical buildings. Some of the benefits? Errors and intervention times are reduced, ensuring the safety of the expert in the field. Continue to read to discover how.

Smart glasses in construction, architecture, restoration

According to the research company Markets and Markets, by 2023 the Augmented Reality market is projected to reach 61.39 billion dollars. This trend will involve various business fields, thus improving the entire production cycle with smart glasses. The AR-induced transformation is already evident in logistics, in maintenance, in insurance inspection, as well as in architecture, engineering and in the restoration of cultural heritage.

Imagine an architect, an art historian or a structural engineer who has to carry out an inspection on ancient buildings. These types of buildings require constant maintenance and regular inspections, precisely to prevent their artistic-architectural and cultural value from disappearing.

A few years ago, an expert in the field  would survey the ceiling, columns and other components  harnessed to the building  at high altitude, carrying the floor plan of the building with him. He had to find something on to which he could lay the plan and write down everything he found, thus encountering difficulties and delays in the completion of his inspection.

Wearable device for preliminary structural status survey

With wearable devices connected in Augmented Reality, the situation has improved. Incredibly. On the devices display the on field expert who is carrying out the structural survey of a historic building already sees the tab with all the important information he needs.

At high altitudes, as well as in other “mission critical” contexts, this professional can do all the checks “hands free“. He uses voice commands for the scheduled tasks to be performed, i.e. checking the condition of capitals, windows, the wear and tear of frescoes and the humidity on the walls.

Nothing is left to chance: the voice command reminds him of the steps of the tasks to be carried out, such as jotting down notes that are directly incorporated into the post-inspection report. Among the tools offered by ready2use platforms such as Eye4Task there is also the possibility to take photos, record videos and continue with a detailed evaluation form.

How AR improves inspection information management

During a structural survey, the field expert wearing the smart glasses captures important data and information. This, too, marks a shift toward digital transformation.

While in the past, a professional took notes on site and then evaluated everything from the office, with faster and more high-performance intervention periods. Experts can immediately access complete data, allowing them to discuss with remote experts (specifically E4T enables video calling the Support Room) if something unusual or unexpected comes up.

Therefore, there is no information loss. On the contrary, photos, videos and other important data acquired during the survey end up in the final report. Data are then evaluated to determine the structural and conservation status of the historic building and decide whether any ordinary or extraordinary maintenance work is required, especially if it the building is subject to adverse weather conditions or earthquakes that may compromise its structural stability.

Smart glasses: safety for “hands-free” experts

It goes without saying, the safety of the worker, particularly in such contexts, is essential. Think of the expert harnessed at high altitude: with wearable devices he can performs the inspections “hands-free”, with no distractions remaining focused on his activity.

On the display of the smart glasses connected to the collaborative platform E4T, the on field expert goes through the checklist to be completed. Inside, he finds all the tasks to be carried out in his inspection of a church, a bell tower, the facade of a building of architectural and cultural significance. Using voice commands, he describes what he sees and takes notes on the state of conservation and/or any damage found. He takes photos or records videos.

At every single step of his inspection, he has other tools available. Among these is an evaluation grid with reference values that allow him to carry out posthumous quantitative analyses. If, for example, the parameters are below the threshold values, a decision could be taken for a subsequent ordinary or extraordinary maintenance intervention.

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