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Winning Ideas Announced: from 3D Printing Antbots to Asset Management Technology

Ideas which aim to transform construction using Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, 3D printing and organic nano fluids have been selected as winners for the 2020 COINS Grand Challenge by a panel of construction industry leaders.

COINS Grand Challenge hopes to boost innovation in the built environment, this year ideas ranged from construction technology to sustainable building materials and processes, as well as ones which could improve construction safety and efficiency. Due to restrictions on gatherings and travel, the COINS Grand Challenge Innovation Conference and Awards Ceremony took place virtually but the quality of entries was as high as ever.

The winner of the Open Competition is Ali Khaloo, CEO and founder of Aren, USA. His winning idea is a service, civil infrastructure management platform to assess and manage infrastructure using computer vision, machine learning and civil engineering. As well as reducing the risk of failure of these assets, this also optimises spending across the asset portfolio. Ali comments:

“We are uniquely combining civil engineering with artificial intelligence using our patented technology to really change the status quo and move asset management towards the way that it should be in the 21st century.”

The winner of the Undergraduate Competition and also the COINS Investment Prize is Krithiga Ravichandran who is currently studying image, electronic and communications engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK. Krithiga impressed the judges with her idea to utilise 3D printer construction robots known as ANTBOTS for digital remote construction with the goal of creating an internet of things ecosystem where engineers and construction workers coordinate with their robotic peers to handle simple, on-site structural manufacturing. She explains:

By smartly printing the structures on-site with a limited number of human workers, we can revolutionise productivity in the construction industry.”

The Open Competition Runner up is Hermione Crease, co-founder of Purrmetrix Ltd, UK. Hermione captured the judge’s imagination with a proposal to utilise environmental and energy data to construct an accurate and robust analysis of heat loss from buildings. Hermione explains:

“An accurate tool for benchmarking the rate of heat loss will not only help guarantee that investments in energy appear at maximum return, but they'll also provide the certainty that can underpin a whole new range of other products that have been financed or warrantied, or better warranties on housing performance”

Runner up of the Undergraduate Competition is Samarpan Deb Majumber who will be graduating this year with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Institute of Engineering and Management, India. Samarpan’s winning idea is to optimise the heat capacity of a building’s cooling system through the development of an engineer's organic nano fluid, having optimised chemo physical properties.

Samarpan explains:

“As we are moving towards the year of zero waste energy buildings and also zero energy buildings, our idea, that is to develop a nano fluid, will not only increase the heat capacities of the cooling systems, but will also result in lower compressor work.”

We are very grateful to the support of this year’s judges, leading construction industry professionals; Mark Beard, Chairman & Chief Executive of E W Beard (Holdings) Ltd; James Benham, CEO of JB Knowledge; Mohamed ElZomor, Assistant Professor - Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and Sustainability at Florida International University; Neil Pike, Head of Sustainability and Business Improvement, Morgan Sindall Fitout; Stuart Binstock, President and CEO, Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA); and Susan Jackson, Joint MD of Campion Homes.

Entries for the 2021 COINS Grand Challenge will be opening later in the year – sign up for more details here.


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