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How Augmented Reality can help the HVAC&R industry evolve

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A S H R A E J O U R N A L a s h r a e . o r g M A Y 2 0 2 1 2 2 How Augmented Reality Could Help the HVAC&R Industry to Evolve I NTE R V I E WS BY MARY KATE MCGO WAN, MANAG I NG E DITOR Augmented reality (AR) can make invisible information visible. From pipes in the walls to how to put together a prefabricated HVAC&R assembly, AR technology can uncover hidden truths to quickly resolve challenges in design, construction and operations and maintenance processes. Several industry professionals discuss how AR could help the HVAC&R industry to evolve. In any stage of the design, construction and operations processes, AR allows anyone to work on the project and see it in real time from anywhere. AR technology is still in its infancy, but some industry players have adopted this Industry 4.0 technology. "AR is one type of immersive technology, which is con- tinuing to rapidly mature, but still has received limited implementation on projects," said John Messner, pro- fessor of architectural engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. And, using extended reality technology, such as aug- mented reality, is a better way to leverage data, said Jordan Lawver, senior business area manager of AR/MR/ VR at Trimble Inc. The technologies help those use exist- ing data with the primary benefit of allowing anyone on a construction site to understand a design in context. To understand what augmented reality provides the HVAC&R system, engineers must understand the vari- ous levels of physical-digital interactions available with evolving technology, said 2020–21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE. "With the advent of smart objects and connected information, we can design systems virtually. Via virtual design and construction, we have the capacity to visual- ize complete building and system configurations before they ever become physical," he said. What is Augmented Reality? "Anything that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world is a kind of AR," said Zahra Ghorbani, a Ph.D. student at Penn State whose research is focused on leveraging AR for facilities management. Filters in Instagram and Snapchat are simple examples of AR. So is the IKEA Place app, which uses AR to allow customers to place digital representations of furniture in their homes before purchasing them, said Ghorbani, who is also the BIM manager for Penn State's Office of Physical Plant. AR takes a physical world element or setting and Column INDUSTRY 4.0 ©ASHRAE www.ashrae.org. Used with permission from ASHRAE Journal. This article may not be copied nor distributed in either paper or digital form without ASHRAE's permission. For more information about ASHRAE, visit www.ashrae.org.

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