May 16, 2020

Costain to use augmented reality to assess radioactive pipelines

Construction and engineering company Costain
EDF Energy
Innovate UK
Loretta Browne
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Costain to use augmented reality to assess radioactive pipelines
Costain has been selected to drive forward their latest innovation project with EDF Energy that will change the way boiler tubes are inspected for crack...

Costain has been selected to drive forward their latest innovation project with EDF Energy that will change the way boiler tubes are inspected for cracks and breakages.

As part of Costain’s mission to engineer a more sustainable tomorrow, they will be building on EDF’s work in producing a miniature pipe inspection camera by creating an infrared version that uses augmented reality to assess potential damage.

This has the potential to save millions of pounds in costs as all pipes are currently exchanged regardless of their condition.

The challenge came from EDF and Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, to come up with a solution to detect cracks in pipelines that are more than 40 years old.

Currently, visual inspection is considered to be the most effective technique for material defects but it has limitations.

The deterioration of pipes is assessed subjectively, meaning money is spent on replacing pipes that have a much longer life expectancy.

The quality of the footage is also often impacted due to the camera being dazzled by its own illuminator. This can result in areas of the image being hidden. 

Costain’s technology - which will now be trialed on a pilot basis - will be more sympathetic providing an evenly exposed image, while also minimising the radioactive levels.

Images of the pipes will be taken every three to six months, and will be overlaid using augmented reality to provide a clear indication of any damage that needs be addressed and thus any pipes that need to be replaced.

Loretta Browne, EdF Account Manager at Costain, said: “We are extremely excited to start developing this technology with EDF. Innovation and technology is at the heart of everything we do here at Costain so it is great to be able to merge the two to create something that will boost efficiency and lower costs in the energy industry”.

Tony Davies Nuclear Business Development Director at Costain added, “The technology we will produce will have a positive long-term impact on both EDF and their customers and we hope to see it being utilised over the upcoming year.”

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Jun 14, 2021

XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality

AugmentedReality
construction
DigitalTransformation
Technology
Dominic Ellis
3 min
XYZ Reality to use funding led by Octopus Ventures to springboard into USA and automatically report issues through Assisted Reality

XYZ Reality has announced a £20m investment round led by Octopus Ventures.

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.

Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year. 

With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.

With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.     

This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.

"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”

The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc. 

Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”

XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.  

Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.” 

Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.

But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.

"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."

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