BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- We've all dreamed of having super human powers like the ability to fly or become invisible, but one construction company in Maine has harnessed technology to allow them to see through walls.
PC Construction company uses their X-ray as Built to see electrical conduits and pipes hidden behind sheet rock and paint, but it is not truly X-ray vision, but a digital copy of what is in place before the walls are closed in.
"It is kind of like a vertical Dig Safe," explained Mark Donovan, a project manager with the company. "You know before you dig into the ground you have to call Dig Safe, with this technology that we're bringing, before you cut into a wall or open up a wall, you use your Xray as Built. You know what's there before you ever open a wall up."
While the system is hi-tech, the process to create it is relatively simple. Once all the wiring and plumbing is inspected and approved, a worker sets up a tripod in the middle of each room, mounts a camera with a fisheye lens on it, and then takes several pictures. Those digital pictures are then pieced together to create a seamless 360 degree view of the room which can be viewed on a computer or tablet.
"They can see virtually through the entire building, exactly what is behind every wall, for decades," said Donovan.
"As you pan around the room, or up towards the ceilings, you can see everything that happened in this space prior to any finishes being installed."
Using his iPad, Donovan demonstrated how useful this information can be. Once the images are properly aligned with the room, the pictures reveal what is behind the walls as the computer scans the room, giving the effect of looking right through the walls.
PC Construction has had the technology for about a year, and used it for the first time in Maine to map all the rooms in Molnlycke's state-of-the-art, 80,000 square foot bandage manufacturing facility at Brunswick Landing that is just nearing completion.
"The X-ray vision was huge in helping us prevent any mishaps, as far as drilling into a wall," explained Rich Wood, engineering manager for Molnlycke. "You don't want to hit a water line and have a leak and have to rip out a whole wall."
Molnlycke's facility has a massive sterile manufacturing space and laboratories, with a wide variety of outlets and gas lines running throughout the building.
"Quality is critical to the process," added Wood. "We can't afford to have any kind of slow leak behind a wall."
The X-ray as Built technology takes the guess work out of simple tasks like hanging shelves, and will allow them to make needed changes to the facility in the future without wondering or worrying what is hidden inside the walls, but not visible on blueprints.