Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Building Bots

Construction sites go wireless.

Keeping accurate tabs on every element of a construction project, from piles of earth to stacks of steel beams, is complicated and expensive. To ease the burden on builders, engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are developing information networks that could automate the process.

In one experiment, a construction site is rigged with a Global Positioning System antenna, a computer equipped with a wireless Ethernet connection and a laser-based measuring device. The laser scanner analyzes the size of an object-say a mound of excavated dirt; measurements are sent via wireless Ethernet to databases and file servers that can be accessed by contractors and engineers both on and off the site. Software puts the data into an intelligible form-say, a 3-D model for monitoring job status-and can provide precise measurements for billing purposes. “Right now, many estimates for jobs like ground removal are taken only by how many trucks were used to haul the stuff away,” says Geraldine S. Cheok, a research structural engineer at NIST. “This will make the numbers much more exact.”

Ultimately, the NIST system would go beyond measuring dirt piles. Researchers plan to use radio frequency identification tags to track every pipe, beam and hammer that enters or leaves a site. While the researchers expect to have the technology ready for field use by 2006, the building industry is notoriously slow in adopting new techniques, says Ken Eickmann, director of the Austin, TX-based Construction Industry Institute, a research organization that looks for better construction practices. “But if it proves to be a cost saver,” he says, “you will see it in practice.”

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.