Heriot-Watt showcases pioneering research at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre

On Tuesday 7 October, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) was launched at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. The CSIC is a £9.5 million investment supported by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and eleven Scottish University partners, including Heriot-Watt University. The Centre will bring together industry, academic and public sector partnerships to deliver transformational change in the construction industry through the development of innovative products, collaborative research, and new training provisions.

The launch event was attended by over 300 delegates representing various industry stakeholders and included speeches by Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Ray O'Rourke, chairman of multinational construction company Laing O'Rourke.

The event included an exhibition area where Heriot-Watt's stands for the Centre of Excellence in Railway Research and the Immersive and Controlled Environment (ICE) for Construction Training appeared prominently. The ICE stand was the only one visited by Nicola Sturgeon, where she tried the virtual immersive system and experienced sitting in a virtual cabin of a tower crane operator, 150m above the ground, overlooking downtown Philadelphia.

The ICE Lab is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and based at the Granton Campus of Edinburgh College. The ICE team is developing novel Mixed Reality (VR/AR) and wearable motion tracking technologies for supporting construction life-long training. These technologies, which have not yet been exploited for construction training, have the potential to enhance training standards particularly for maintaining the worker's occupational health, safety and performance. The project draws on the expertise of a multi-disciplinary research team in the areas of construction IT (Dr Frédéric Bosché), construction training (Dr Mohamed Abdel-Wahab), computer science and electronics (Dr Ludovico Carozza, Dr Aparajithan Sivanathan, and Dr Enrique Valero).