The Smart Construction Site Of The Future
In his 1998 novel Distraction, sf author Bruce Sterling writes about smart construction sites that are essentially self-organizing. Making use of talking tape, which is a combination of wireless RFID tag, transceiver and GPS locator, the Bambakias Hotel practically builds itself:
Oscar peeled a strip of tape from a yellow spool and wrapped the tape around a cinder block. He swept a hand-scanner over the block, activating the tape...
"I'm a cornerstone," the cinder block announced.
In the novel, everything on the site was organized by talking tape, including tools. The site computer had the complete plans, including full project management capabilities.
"Good for you," Oscar grunted.
"I'm a cornerstone. Carry me five steps to your left." The construction system was smart enough to manage a limited and specific vocabulary.
(Read more from Talking Tape from Distraction)
The smart construction site is closer than you might think.
New-Technologies.com describes a component tracking system that integrates field sensors, portable computers, wireless communication and real-time kinematic global position equipment.
Individual objects scheduled for arrival on the construction site are tagged at the fabricators using bar codes or radio-frequency transponders (RFID). The encoded information is scanned directly into a portable computer and wirelessly relayed to a remote project database. A database query returns graphical representations (e.q. computer aided design (CAD) information, or virtual reality mark-up language (VRML) models of scanned objects and additional information as appropriate. These models, coupled with user-friendly web browsing software, guide field workers through the acquisition of key fiducial points using scanning devices integrated with GPS technology to determine an object's position and orientation. Pallets of materials can be more easily tracked; even permanent equipment like HVAC systems, pumps, motors, etc. can be tracked from their arrival on the site to installation. RFID tags attached to equipment could contain the complete maintenace history of the tool or device.
RFID will be used widely in the automated construction site. For example, it is estimated that for every one hundred workers in electrical contracting, the financial loss of small tools totals in the tens of thousands of dollars each year. Small tools are easily misplaced and lost, or are carried from the site accidentally (or stolen). Crew delays are common. RFID readers placed in tool sheds and at site gates can track portable tools.
A recent field test using tools was recently completed at the University of Kentucky. RFID tags were attached to a variety of expensive tools at four different construction sites; all of the tags performed very well. Even under harsh (cold temperatures) conditions, the RFID tags attached to the tools were able to transmit their unique ID numbers a minimum of five feet through a standard gang box made of steel. As you can see in this illustration, work crews seldom take the time to organize gang boxes; if all of the tools are tagged, a complete inventory of a box would take just a few seconds.
(From Smart Chips Newsletter)
The Global Positioning System (GPS) can be integrated with construction equipment, allowing operators of bulldozers, scrapers, graders and excavators to see real-time information while performing work. More efficient work leads to lowered fuel cost, less wear on equipment and labor savings (staking surveyors are often not required).
The Guardian has an interesting series of articles on the future this month; the following passage on the construction site of the future seems very similar to the Bruce Sterling passage quoted above:
"Even low-value items such as household bricks could be fitted with individual electronic identifiers, allowing an architect or surveyor to walk round a half-finished school or hospital and see an image of the building skeleton pop up instantly on their ultra-thin laptop."
For more details, see Smart chips research progress reports, Smart Chips Literature Review and Only Connect.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/28/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
of related articles:
What is RFID?
How RFID Works
How is RFID used inside a living body?
What can RFID be used for?
Is RFID Technology Secure and Private?
Are There Concerns About How RFID Will Be Used? (Update)
Next-Generation Uses of RFID?
What Are Zombie RFID Tags?
Problems With RFID
RFID Information Technology Articles
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages
Related News Stories -
Prufrock The Newest Boring Machine
'It sounds to me as though you had invented a kind of metal earthworm...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Sci-Fi Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'
I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'
Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'
Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'
Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'
MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'
AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'
E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'
Soft Robots Use Kirigami Piezoelectric Sensor Skin
'A worthy opponent was the golem.'
Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
'Soon we'll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.'
Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End
'Cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.'
Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing
'And here is the weirdest part -- I never see another employee the entire day.'
Patent Office Says AIs Cannot Be Inventors
'The real smart ones are as smart as the Turing heat is willing to let 'em get.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories