University of Cambridge steals the show at the IET Innovation Awards



The University of Cambridge took one of the top prizes at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Innovation Awards ceremony in central London last week.

A research team from the Division of Civil Engineering took the Information Technology Award for their development of a framework that automatically generates the Digital Twins (DTs) of reinforced concrete bridges, then measures and maps all visible defects on the DTs, helping management of repair work.

The technology uses point cloud data (PCD) to automatically generate a DT of a bridge, then uses high-resolution images registered as textures on the model to detect and map defects. The process standardises maintenance procedures, giving greater accuracy and efficiency.

Dr Ioannis Brilakis, Laing O’Rourke Reader in Construction Engineering and Director of the Construction IT lab at the University of Cambridge highlighted that: “The first part of a National Digital Twin agenda is the ability to generate geometric virtual copies of all existing structures and enrich them with structured and unstructured data. The outcomes of this research show that it is now possible to do this.”

The judging panel were impressed with the entry, saying: “In the diverse field of IT entries, this entry’s innovation stood out. It’s early in its lifecycle but is assessed to be promising and during judging became topical. The ability to generate digital twins of concrete structures and highlight defects is impressive. Congratulations for a fine piece of innovation.”

Other innovations winning prizes at the awards included inventions to improve healthcare treatment, repair power networks, generate renewable energy and update manufacturing processes.

IET President Mike Carr OBE, said: “Our Innovation Awards put the achievements of the most outstanding engineering and technology inventors around the world into the spotlight and play a critical role in helping them advance their vital work.

“Innovation is an essential foundation for the growth of the global economy and for raising the standard of living in all communities. It is a key differentiator that makes companies and projects successful and, in keeping with the IET’s mission to inspire excellence in engineering and technology, we are immensely proud to recognise, celebrate and show our support for these exceptional achievements.”

The 2018 IET Innovation Award winners are:

  • IET and E&T Innovation of the Year - NeuroCONCISE Ltd for their wearable, AI-enabled neurotechnology platform that translates brainwaves into control signals. This innovation also won the Start-up category.
  • Communications - Wave2Wave Solution, for their Robotic Optical Management Engine (ROME) that automates the configuration of physical fibre layer connections in data centres and optical networks.
  • Cyber Security – dstl, for their Cyber Red Team Training Game, that exploits gamification science, requires no IT to run and has no security classification requirement.
  • Emerging Technology Design – Sonobex Limited, for development of noise control technologies using acoustic metamaterials.
  • Healthcare Technologies – University College London, for their work on tracking viruses in space and time
  • Information Technology – University of Cambridge for a virtual 3D space that detects defects in concrete bridges and maps them onto digital "twins", helping management of repair work
  • Intelligent Systems – Viper Innovations Ltd, for “CableGuardian”, a device that uses intelligent algorithms and IOT architecture to provide real-time system fault information in the power network
  • Manufacturing Technology – Temboo, for their code generation technology, that simplifies updating of legacy systems
  • Model-Based Engineering – Orbital Marine Power Ltd, for the hydrodynamic modelling techniques used in their floating tidal turbines
  • Power and Energy – Orbital Marine Power Ltd, for their floating tidal turbine, that has generated reliable electricity for 365 continuous days since its installation.
  • Sustainability – Arup, for their bladeless ventilation system, which saves up to 65% electricity consumption compared to mechanical fans
  • Technology Transfer – Power & Water, for sustainable water treatment, that uses electrolysis and ultrasound and removes the need for hazardous liquid chemicals.
  • Transport – Jaguar Land Rover, for their work on smart and intelligent surfaces, integrating the customer interaction surface with structural electronics.
  • Young Innovators – Creavo Medical Technologies, for compact magnetometers for analysing the heart's magnetic field, improving both sensitivity and resolution of MCG devices
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