Augmented reality plan for hospital construction

UCL’s Bartlett School and construction technology start-up XYZ Reality have been awarded a UK Research & Innovation grant to develop an augmented reality (AR) solution for the construction of hospitals.

The project will be delivered by XYZ in partnership with UCL’s Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), with support from UCL Innovation & Enterprise. It will examine how engineering-grade AR can help to bring complex construction projects in on-time and on-budget, using hospitals as case studies.

The government’s Hospital Infrastructure Plan, a five-year programme of investment in health infrastructure, will rely on innovation to be successful, in particular the adoption of new technologies both in design and build are crucial, as current approaches are time-consuming, ineffective, costly and out of date.

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality’s engineering-grade AR enables users to view hyperscale BIM models on-site in real-time and to millimeter accuracy, making it particularly beneficial for projects with complex mechanical, electrical and plumbing services, such as hospitals or data centres.

Dr Grant Mills, faculty lead for health and associate professor, said: “Hospitals are complex construction environments because of the sheer range of MEP services involved. This often leads to clashes and errors in the build phase, and the need for expensive and time-consuming re-work.”

Prof Duncan Wilson, professor of connected environments at UCL Bartlett CASA, added: “This KTP grant offers us an important opportunity to understand how AR can help different users interact digitally with the environment in novel ways, and by doing so improve productivity, and deliver time and cost savings.”

XYZ Reality’s founder and CEO David Mitchell said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected for the KTP grant and delighted at partnering with UCL on this project. Our engineering-grade AR technology is already being deployed on construction projects with the same levels of complexity as hospital builds, and I’m pleased to say that it is generating significant time and cost savings.

“I’m passionate about supporting the NHS, so I’m glad that this research will enable us to fully understand the benefits that our technology can offer these specific projects, and help those constructing UK hospitals to build it right, first time.”

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