The Soluis Group, whose pioneering immersive reality was a star attraction in our major summer exhibition Drawn to the Future, has been unveiled as the winner of Innovate UK’s IC Tomorrow ‘Smart Construction’ challenge – one of six challenges set for an augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) innovation competition.
In addition to funding to develop their ‘In-Site’ concept – which will bring functional augmented reality to the construction site – the prize gives Soluis the opportunity to trial the technology with competition partner Crossrail as part of Europe’s largest construction project.
The contest, which was launched in July 2015 by Innovate UK, aims to encourage innovation around AR/VR across six themes, each with a different competition partner. The themes included: Smart Construction, Immersive Retail, Enhanced Medical Training and Care, Next-Generation Vocational Education, Tactile Experiences & Amplified Music Experiences.
The judging panel selected the six winners, who are all small businesses pioneering new technology, based on how effectively their solution responded to the contest challenge in a creatively, technically or commercially innovative way.
Matt Sansam, Programme Manager for IC tomorrow, spoke about the success of the competition, saying: “This contest looked for applications beyond gaming and the response from the UK’s entrepreneur community has been fantastic. Many of these winners are pioneers in their field, bringing together the physical, digital and virtual in completely new ways to tackle real world challenges.”
Soluis’ In-Site concept, which utilises innovative wearable augmented reality headset hardware, will be developed to support Crossrail in the commissioning and handover stages of their project.
In-Site will be used to deliver improvements in workplace safety and efficiency by pulling information about assets from the cloud and overlaying it in augmented reality on workers’ visors. This will allow them to work hands-free and heads-up. The concept also enables users to record additional data and transmit it back to the cloud for storage, all in real time.
Martin McDonnell, Chairman at Soluis, expressed why he feels the competition is an important step forward for augmented reality in construction, saying: “Beyond the prize of investment in our concept, I’m most excited about what this contest means for construction. I believe that the industry is ready and waiting for the promise of AR to be delivered and that this represents a bold step and commitment in the bringing together of entrepreneurs and big businesses to collaborate in tackling real problems with new technologies.”