Shapetrace existed as a construction AR startup between 2014 and 2018 before we became a software development agency.
Shapetrace was a complete field solution with a mobile AR app that helped construction workers prevent errors. Using a mobile phone on site, architectural 3D designs were overlaid the actual space to let workers "see before they started to build". During construction, the app used live 3D detection to compare designs to the actual conditions to measure progress and detect errors, which automatically updated the schedule.
We have a lot of battles scars with our tech startup as we were trying to sell a solution that was ahead of its time. Ultimately, our venture didn't work out, but man, we feel it made us really, really good at AR. And it made us efficient, lean, and organized.
You might ask, "Why is AR in construction so hard?"
The construction site is one of the most challenging AR operational environments because it's constantly changing. AR works best when the walls don't move, there are noticeable textures around you, and the lighting is always great: this is the opposite of a construction build. Furthermore, construction workers demand instant reliability because they don't have time for buggy technologies. "It has to be as reliable as a hammer or it's garbage", they'd say. At the same time, AR consumer technology was still in prototype-phase as the big tech companies were struggling themselves. We didn't want to compete against them, so we used their mobile platforms. However, there were significant technical gaps, so we had to build our own 3D vision tools. Ultimately, we were able to file for a provisional patent for our innovations (we could only afford a single one), which was a great feat. Anyway, when Apple and Google finally released their official platforms, it couldn't do what we wanted (see this post we wrote) so we decided to shift our focus out of the construction industry.
Shapetrace won the MaRS Upstart 2015 pitch competition, was shortlisted for TechStar IoT 2017, and was a finalist for ResolveTO 2017, Digifest 2016, TieQuest 2017, Cemex Ventures, and IE Ventures competitions. Shapetrace is an alumni of the Founder Institute, the world's premier idea-stage accelerator based in Silicon Valley. Our highlights include working with Schneider Electric and EllisDon in Grenoble, Silicon Valley, and Toronto.
The Shapetrace team has been been through a rollercoaster together. And we're most proud that we're still together. Now, we hope to offer our professional services to help other businesses succeed.
Here's a link to our old website.