Every year, the construction industry builds close to $1.3 trillion worth of new buildings and structures.

Construction technology makes this level of impact possible. While some things like cranes and bulldozers might seem commonplace, there was a time when they were new equipment that revolutionized the industry. And even if you don’t, this construction tech revolution that includes devices like this Construction Camera is already changing the world around you.

Innovation in construction technology is far from over. Today, new technology in construction makes new things possible, increases efficiency, and grows the ROI of projects.

Curious about the latest construction technology? We’ve put together some of the coolest new innovations here — keep reading to learn about the top technology harnessed by the construction industry today.

Self-Healing Concrete

While it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, self-healing concrete is actually real. This material might soon become even more common than regular concrete.

Self-healing concrete fixes a serious problem with traditional concrete. All types of concrete develop cracks given enough time. Even reinforced mixes have this issue. And cracks create leaks that let water into a building.

Since concrete is the most popular building material in the world, this flaw has expensive consequences. Concrete makes buildings, roads, bridges, and much more. And now when it cracks, it can fix itself.

Self-healing concrete is just regular concrete with the right kind of bacteria added to the mix. Also called “bio-concrete,” the mix acts like normal concrete until cracks develop and let water in.

The water activates the bacteria, by releasing a food source hidden in the mix. The bacteria feed on this source and leaves behind limestone to fill in the cracks in the material.

Productivity Software

Software makes construction companies more efficient and productive, reducing their impact on the environment.

Today, construction companies are expected to meet tight deadlines. In some cities, the need for new projects seems never-ending. Companies that use software can meet these expectations more easily than ever before.

Productivity apps can make everything from designing to communication faster and easier. They reduce waste by eliminating errors and helping projects move forward faster.

3D Printing

3D printing isn’t just for tiny prototypes. in fact, it’s now possible to 3D print an entire house!

With 3D printing, parts can be built off-site and moved to where they’re needed. They can be built on demand to meet exact specifications. Even concrete walls can be 3D printed.

This construction technology reduces human error and makes the building process faster and more efficient. It has the potential for quickly erecting basic structures, or for making precise parts for more elaborate buildings.

Augmented Reality

One of the biggest challenges for the construction industry is how to show off a building before it’s built.

After the building is up, it can be expensive and wasteful to make changes. For many years, virtual reality has helped address this. Clients and construction workers could both use VR to take “tours” of a building, see problems, and make changes before the project moved forward.

Augmented reality takes this concept even further. It means people can physically walk through a space that looks like what the building will someday be. It takes VR into the third dimension for an even more realistic experience.

AR also allows people to see information about the building in real time as they “explore” it. Creative new applications have made AR even more interesting than ever before. This technology is sure to continue adding value to the construction industry in the next few years.

Drones

More and more construction sites are adopting drones for all kinds of purposes.

Drones save time and reduce the need for more workers on site. For example, with a drone, it takes just minutes to survey a site. This task once took months at a time for some sites!

In recent years, drones have become even more precise and effective. Projects get finished faster, and with fewer errors, thanks to drones.

Vertical Forests

New construction technology even allows buildings themselves to fight pollution.

With vertical forests, plants get added to the sides of high-rise buildings. Green roofs aren’t new, but adding green walls means fitting many more plants into the same horizontal space.

Just imagine a skyscraper with plants all along its sides. These plants help clean the air in urban spaces, absorbing the carbon dioxide buildup that threatens the atmosphere.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is the facet of artificial intelligence that teaches machines to “think” for themselves.

With machine learning, data analysis can happen at a whole new level. For example, some apps can analyze visual data from a site and look for possible hazards and safety violations. Over time, the machines learn to do their job even better.

This reduces waste, improves safety, and happens without the need for extra workers on staff. People can quickly find the information they need without sifting through massive amounts of data.

Robotics

Robotics may not be new for the construction industry, but this type of technology is also changing rapidly. New innovations in robotics can do great things for construction efficiency.

For example, new robots are far more precise than earlier models. Robots can increasingly take over tasks that people used to do on a construction site. For companies that know how to calculate labor costs, the savings offered by robots will be obvious.

Robots get jobs done faster and more accurately, improving safety as well as efficiency. Although they’re expensive now, the prices will drop as the technology becomes more commonplace. This means more construction sites will adopt the technology soon.

Will Construction Technology Affect You?

If you work in construction, construction technology will change the way your job gets done. And even if you don’t, this construction tech revolution is already changing the world around you.

From the cities you visit, to the house you might decide to build, the effects of technology in construction are everywhere. Want to give construction technology a try at home? Don’t miss our guide to building a high-tech home!

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How NEOFECT Created a Smart Glove (Robotic Arm) That Uses Online Gaming for Rehabilitation

Wearable technology keeps evolving. And it is transforming the way we experience the world. Watches, eyeglasses, rings, bracelets and even smart home devices like the thermostat are changing how we consumer information, monitor our health and use home products. Smart technology has a significant role to play in how people will live in the future.

NEOFECT wants to change how to aid rehabilitation and the provision of clinicial real-time patient data. In an interview with  Scott Kim, Neofect’s co-founder and CEO of the US office, he spoke to us about how he started NEOFECT, the company’s success factors and challenges they have faced in their bid to change physical therapy using online gaming.

Brief summary about your startup

Established in 2010, NEOFECT is a mobile health startup with a vision to deliver an affordable and effective at-home system to aid neuro patients with central nervous system disorders such as a stroke.

Its first product, RAPAEL Smart Glove, combines a wearable device, virtual reality and gamification for rehab exercise, while its software analyzes the data from built-in sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level.

The device has been successfully employed by a number of major hospitals in South Korea since December of 2014, and approved for use in the US and Europe. NEOFECT has offices in S. Korea, San Francisco, and Poland.

Why and how it was started

The President of NEOFECT, Ho-Young Ban, experienced first-hand the difficulties faced by stroke patients and their families when his father and two uncles fell victims of stroke.

Although his uncles were fortunate to survive, they had to turn down the rehab therapy because of the costs involved. So, when his friend Young Choi came up with an idea of Rapael, Ban could not resist.

Soon after, their classmate from the University of Virginia’s Darden MBA program Scott Kim joined the team to launch the US operations.

Kim was born with spinal bifida and went through a surgery and a long rehabilitation process, so he immediately recognized the opportunity and became a co-founder and the CEO of the Neofect’s US office.

What has been the biggest success factors

Personal motivation of the founders combined with the latest, most advanced smart technologies have become the major engines behind the company’s success.

– Gamification, which motivates a patient throughout the rehab process. It helps to induce neuroplasticity for hand function of a patient with a brain damage.

Various rehab games are updated monthly and each game targets specific movements such as squeezing the orange for finger flexion/extension and pouring wine for forearm pronation/supination, for example.

– Artificial Intelligence: the software analyzes data from the glove’s sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level. The algorithm is designed to enhance learning multiple functions by offering an optimal task at a proper level of difficulty.

– Wearable Device: RAPAEL Smart Glove is a wearable bio-feedback training gadget. Lightweight and designed to fit different hand sizes, it uses the Bluetooth technology to collect the patient’s data.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company?

The biggest challenge was the product’s concept itself. Many people believed that Rapael could be a threat to the therapists. Fortunately, after we launched the program in several hospitals, we’ve been able to prove that our device is designed with the doctors’ and patient’s needs in mind and helps them make the rehabilitation process more efficient.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

This sounds like a cliché, but the right team is easily the answer to me. With the right people, you can make necessary adjustments based on new information to make sure there is a product-market fit.

My previous job was to lead a team to make mobile apps – without any exception, all great apps loved by users were made by great teams.

Final words for those chasing the startup dream

Never underestimate the importance of execution. Many people waste their time just to validate what they think or others think, or even just to finish the conceptualization.

However, you should “fail fast” in order concentrate your efforts on building a product which has a market demand, and of course, to save time and money as well.

Plus, you should fail while you are small rather than big, if you’re meant to face it. The earlier you do the reality check, the faster you can reach your goal, although it might cost you a couple of failures at the beginning.

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