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Soluis is aiming to develop a system using high-tech headset

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Soluis Group secures £1m grant for VR/AR system

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A £1m government research grant has been awarded to develop the use of virtual and augmented reality in the construction industry.

A consortium led by Glasgow-based visualisation specialist Soluis Group has secured the funding from Innovate UK to develop an augmented worker system (AWE) for construction.

The goal is to develop a system that uses a high-tech headset, in tandem with BIM, to reduce costs and waste by 25% and increase productivity by 30%.

App developer Soluis will work alongside Aecom, Laing O’Rourke, Doosan Babcock, Autodesk and Microsoft, as well as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Advanced Forming Research Centre.

Soluis has previously developed an augmented reality asset management tool, In-Site, which was piloted at Crossrail’s Liverpool Street station with Laing O’Rourke.

Martin McDonnell, chairman of Soluis Group said: “The proof of concept project with Crossrail showed how this technology could be applied and add incredible value to the industry. Our vision was to develop this concept much further and create a set of tools that would form the augmented worker of the future.

“For a business like us, we could only drive this innovation a certain amount and working with the consortium and receiving funding from Innovate UK will help us achieve this much faster and more effectively.” 

Aecom BIM director David Philp said: “Construction technology is reshaping how we deliver and maintain our built assets, it is increasingly helping us place digital information into the real world in the right context supporting and augmenting the decision-making process.

“Real-time access to individualised data, analytics and instructions during the construction and operational stages will greatly improve productivity, quality and also help worker well-being.

“Creating a framework and guidance around the augmented worker is critically important if we are to successfully unlock this value proposition.”

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The proof of concept project with Crossrail showed how this technology could be applied and add incredible value to the industry. Our vision was to develop this concept much further and create a set of tools that would form the augmented worker of the future.– Martin McDonnell, chairman, Soluis Group