New augmented and virtual reality tools will hit the commercial market this year, says Alice Liao in a post on ARCHITECT. Virtual reality headsets and products such as Microsoft’s augmented reality HoloLens will be available for architects, builders, and developers soon.

Virtual reality tools are currently more widely used in architecture, and allow designers and builders to immerse themselves in simulations of unbuilt projects.

The platform [virtual reality] has had about 30 years to mature and “there’s more momentum happening,” says George Valdes, AIA, vice president of product at New York–based software developer IrisVR. Although VR has enjoyed wider adoption, many see greater potential in AR. With the HoloLens and future AR devices, some foresee the ability to create an initial 3D model of a physical space by simply scanning it, overlaying a truly immersive environment on top of a raw space, and editing digital 3D models in real time. Until then, White advises taking the plunge and experimenting. As AR and VR continue to advance, the technology will not be in its current form, but surely “it’s not going away.”

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