By Kim Slowery
International architecture firm Gensler has partnered with technology company Trimble to test the collaborative and technological possibilities of mixed reality, Trimble announced in a press release.
With Trimble's mixed reality technology and Microsoft HoloLens, users can interact with 3-D models of building elements "in the context of their own physical environment" and collaborate on design, even remotely.
Trimble is currently operating a mixed reality pilot program through which it allows construction and design companies to become familiar with the technology using their own projects.
Mixed reality has the potential to influence "every aspect of the design process" and constitutes "the next evolution" in design, according to Alan Robles, an associate at Gensler.
Virtual reality and mixed reality technologies have emerged as dominant forces in the construction industry that could significantly alter day-to-day operations. Late last year, Autodesk and Microsoft announced a partnership in which Autodesk's Fusion 360 software can connect with Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset. Microsoft representatives said the integration of HoloLens and Fusion 360 gives industrial designers and mechanical engineers a tool that offers "much more effective collaboration (in which they) can see and really interact" with their work.
Gensler is the creative force behind high-profile projects all over the globe, including the second tallest building in the world, the 2,073-foot-tall, 121-story Shanghai Tower, in Shanghai, China, which is also the tallest building in China.
Earlier this year, Gensler released its Design Forecast 2016, which detailed which factors in a variety of sectors will shape cities the most in 2025. Gensler pointed at six megatrends: digital's integration into daily life; 'smarter' environments; design that enables speed and seamless experiences; urban living; an emergence of maker cultures; and a focus on the value of health and safety.