UCL and XYZ Reality win grant to help transform construction through augmented reality
12 May 2021
London-based startup XYZ Reality and UCL have been awarded government funding to explore how augmented reality (AR) could revolutionise hospital construction projects.
London-based construction technology startup XYZ Reality and UCL are embarking on a new project to look at how AR can help with UK hospital construction.
The project will explore how advanced AR technology can be used to ensure complex hospital building projects are completed on time and budget.
The grant for this project has been awarded by UKRI through an Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
Meeting the changing demands of the NHS
In 2019, the government announced its plans to build 40 new hospitals in the next five years, to meet the changing demands facing the NHS. It’s an ambitious goal, and one that will require new technologies to help with the design and build of so many complex buildings.
Dr Grant Mills, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment Lead for Health and Associate Professor, said: “Hospitals are complex construction environments because of the sheer range of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services involved. This often leads to clashes and errors in the build phase, and the need for expensive and time-consuming re-work.”
XYZ Reality has come up with a new advanced AR system that could prove instrumental in reducing costly delays in hospital projects.
Its technology uniquely enables users to view hyperscale models on-site, in real-time and to millimetre accuracy. The solution has particular benefits for projects with complex MEP services, such as hospitals or data centres.
A knowledge transfer partnership with UCL
The project is being delivered as a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with UCL’s world-leading Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA).
Prof Duncan Wilson, Professor of Connected Environments at CASA, said: “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 equally delighted at the prospect of partnering with UCL on this project. I’m passionate about supporting the NHS, and this research will enable us to fully understand the benefits our technology can offer these specific projects, and help those constructing UK hospitals to build it right, first time.”
The partnership between UCL and XYZ Reality was set up with support and input from UCL Innovation & Enterprise.
Natalie Gough, Programme Manager – Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “KTP is the best mechanism for XYZ Reality to work closely with leading UCL expertise. It will enable them to understand how to adapt and validate use of AR technology in hospital projects, and to establish an internal intelligence function. It’s a chance to really understand the potential of this technology to reduce waste and increase productivity. It will also help transform the construction sector, and for an exciting startup to feed into the evidence base and government priorities.”
The KTP scheme links up businesses with academic know-how and funding to tackle complex problems. UCL is the top university in London for KTPs, working with small and large organisations in a range of sectors across the UK, including construction, software development and healthcare.
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