Department of Engineering / News / Civil Engineering team receive the IET award for Information Technology

Department of Engineering

Civil Engineering team receive the IET award for Information Technology

Civil Engineering team receive the IET award for Information Technology

Professor David Cardwell (centre) receives the award on behalf of Dr Ioannis Brilakis, Ms Ruodan Lu and Dr Philipp Huethwohl

The University of Cambridge took one of the top prizes at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Innovation Awards.

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.

Dr Ioannis Brilakis

A research team from the Civil Engineering division 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.”  

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