University of Bradford has big plans for Spot following investment

Professor Andrew Wilson, Chair of the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences with BD25, aka Spot!

BuildingPoint UK and Ireland collaborates closely with universities within our distribution area. Through our extensive network, we have successfully introduced cutting-edge digital technologies that are poised to captivate the next wave of tech-savvy, motivated engineers and surveyors, precisely the talent our industry craves. Addressing the existing skills deficit and forging a safer, more efficient, and sustainable industry for the future are the key objectives in our quest to attract a new generation of geospatial professionals.

It’s our partnerships with these institutions that have enabled us to build on sales successes that generally commence with the introduction of groundbreaking technologies, like the Trimble SiteVision augmented reality system and the X7 3D Laser Scanner, setting the stage for the subsequent introduction of Spot.

Spot has generated considerable interest with sales to Universities such as Liverpool John Moores (LJMU) and more recently, University of Bradford.

University of Bradford

The University of Bradford has an existing relationship with KOREC that has resulted in the supply of a comprehensive survey portfolio including the Trimble S7 Robotic Total Station, R12i GNSS and XR10 Mixed Reality System. Working with BuildingPoint UK and Ileland, ‘Spot’ was jointly introduced following a request from the University of Bradford.  This request aimed at optimising their educational offerings for students while concurrently enhancing their capabilities for ongoing domestic and global projects, encompassing diverse fields such as archaeology, forensics, and the development of digital twins.

Spot was acquired by the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences and has affectionately been nicknamed ‘BD25,’ in a nod to the University’s partnership with Bradford 2025, UK City of Culture. It has been equipped with a 3D laser scanner, and other sensors will be added in due course, including a mobile mapping kit. Amongst many plans, academics plan to use it for exploring and recording heritage at risk such as abandoned mill buildings in the Bradford area.

‘BD25’ unveiled at the showcase event

On Weds 13th September Spot, aka ‘BD25’, was unveiled and taken for walkies around the University campus to the delight of more than 100 invited guests, as part of a showcase of the School’s new multi-million suite of cutting-edge technologies. KOREC’s Amanda Bradshaw and BuildingPoint UK and Ireland’s Sam Hough were delighted to be there supporting the event and answering all questions generated by the dog’s presence.

The successful introduction of ‘Spot’ means that the University is looking at acquiring a second unit.

The University of Bradford has a long-established reputation as one of the key centres for archaeological research in the UK, recognised by being awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2021 in recognition of its world-leading work and innovation in developing archaeological technology and techniques and its influence on practice, policy, and society.

The kit has been funded through investment the University has received through Capco, the Capability for Collections fund, part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) allocation of world-class laboratories funding, UKRI World Class Labs.

Liverpool John Moores University

LJMU took delivery of their Spot towards the end of 2022 and was the first university in Europe to acquire one planning to use it for teaching and research. At the forefront of the digital revolution within the construction industry, they see Spot as not only an important addition to attract engineers on to their courses to gain hands-on experience, but also as a valuable asset for their own engineering projects and R&D as they explore Spot’s capabilities and options for different payloads.

Left to right: Ben Lewis (KOREC Group) Dr Layth Kraidi (LJMU), Sam Hough (BuildingPoint UK and Ireland) and Dr Fiona Borthwick (LJMU). 

In particular, Dr Fiona Borthwick, Interim Subject Head of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, feels that Spot will be integral for both teaching and research as well as a great plus for LJMU students who are able to familiarise themselves with this technology before they go full-time into the industry.

‘Spot’ has its inbuilt 3D Laser Scanner calibrated by the BuildingPoint UK and Ireland Service Centre

LJMU’s School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment are Leading the Way With Robotic Dog Investment

Investing £150K into cutting edge educational tools, The School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment at Liverpool John Moores University is the first in Europe to make use of ‘Spot’ the robot dog to revolutionise their teaching and research.

It might have four legs and love a walk but you won’t find ‘Spot’ barking or looking for cuddles. That’s because it’s an all-terrain robotic dog that is being used to streamline civil engineering and construction surveys.

LJMU bought Spot from and is fully supported by BuildingPoint UK and Ireland – the construction arm of Liverpool-based mapping and surveying equipment specialists, KOREC Group

However, it was actually designed and developed by American robotic company Boston Dynamics. It also features a 3D Laser Scanner by Trimble.

Between them, Trimble and Boston Dynamics have created an agile, easy-to-use four-legged robot. Perfect for accessing areas that are difficult or unsafe.

It can be pre-programmed or remotely controlled which means it can be used to quarry out surveys in the most hazardous conditions. It can even be controlled by workers who aren’t onsite.

It can also be used to carry out repetitive survey tasks, so skilled surveyors are free to do more technical jobs.

How is ‘Spot’ changing the way the department works?

“LJMU is really at the forefront of what is happening within the construction industry which is currently undergoing a digital revolution. Not only is Spot an important addition to construction sites from a health and safety perspective but also a significant reminder that if the construction industry is to overcome a skills and labour shortage, then this is just the sort of technology to attract a new, motivated generation of engineering surveyors.

Spot is presently active on several construction sites following investment by major construction companies so for LJMU to already be preparing the next generation of engineers in this way will be of considerable importance for the industry as a whole.”

Sam Hough, BuildingPoint UK and Ireland Business Manager
Left to right: Ben Lewis (KOREC Group) Dr Layth Kraidi (LJMU), Sam Hough (BuildingPoint UK and Ireland) and Dr Fiona Borthwick (LJMU). 

“We’ve been excited about Spot for a very long time, so we’re pleased that we now have our robot dog up and running. It’s a great plus for our students that they will be familiar with this technology before they go full-time into the industry, and we look forward to further exploring Spot’s capabilities and options for different payloads.”

Dr Fiona Borthwick, Interim Subject Head of Civil Engineering and Built Environment
‘Spot’ has its inbuilt 3D Laser Scanner calibrated by the BuildingPoint UK and Ireland Service Centre

Who are KOREC and BuildingPoint UK & Ireland?

Established Trimble Geospatial Distributor,  KOREC Group, is one of the largest and most successful in the world and has been for over 25 years. They’ve been active in the construction market since they were formed in the 1960’s.

In 2019, the Trimble construction side of the KOREC Group started operating as KOREC Construction. Then in September 2022, BuildingPoint UK & Ireland joined the global BuildingPoint network.

This network supports the entire collection of Trimble Buildings’ solutions to markets around the world. They help construction companies to be more productive, stick to schedules and keep on budget. They even improve collaboration by improving coordination and project transparency.

Who is LJMU School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment?

The School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment at Liverpool John Moores embraces bright and creative thinkers, offering them accredited academic courses as part of a vibrant community. Thanks to its expert staff and committed students, the school has a history of remarkable research, first-rate facilities and strong links with industry leaders too.

Both their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes have impressive employability rates. The school also supports a large number of postgraduate researchers as they complete projects across a range of subjects. 

The school is internationally recognised and runs programmes in conjunction with partners based in Malaysia, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Success at the 2022 Construction Computing Awards

The 10th November saw the winners of the 2022 Construction Computing Awards announced at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London City. Over 200 guests gathered to see the outcome of the readers’ online voting and the judging panel’s deliberations.

And of course BuildingPoint UK Ireland was right in the thick of it!

Sam Hough (Business Manager) and Abel Varela Abelleira (Senior Applications Engineer) were delighted to be guests on the Trimble table which saw four awards picked up during the evening including a joint effort with Building Point UK and Ireland!

🏆 Best use of Digital Technology in a Construction Project: Trimble Buildings with Boston Dynamics Spot Robot at BAM Nuttall Ltd with BuildingPoint UK and Ireland.
You can read all about BAM Nuttall and Spot here.

The newly established BuildingPoint UK and Ireland team was also runner-up in Team of the Year 2022 reflecting the great work they’ve done in this short space of time.

Read more

“The Future of…” Series 2 – Construction Robotics

During the summer we launched our BuildingPoint UK and Ireland ‘The Future Of….’ Series looking at key trends in digital construction and we decided there was nowhere better to kick off than with Augmented and Mixed Reality – technology that’s truly transforming the way we work!

The second trend that we’ve decided to take a look at is Construction Robots and the nature of ‘true autonomy’.

“An autonomous robot is a robot that acts without recourse to human control” is the official definition. Short and to the point, it’s an easy one to understand.

However, since the introduction of Trimble’s Spot the Dog we’ve realised that our customers and colleagues have plenty more to say on the subject! Spot is a four-legged robot developed by American robotics company Boston Dynamics that’s armed with Trimble’s X7 3D laser scanner and Trimble FieldLink software to collect data while navigating challenging, dynamic and potentially unsafe environments… and it’s certainly had lots of media interest.

Opinions that matter!

Read more