Adopting renewables, accident analysis and medical marvels

Andrew Czyzewski


This week sees a number of hands-on conferences on how to put new technology into practice, including the adoption of renewables in the building industry, scanning tools for crash collision modelling and the impact of technology in the medical sector.

Fairly or unfairly, the construction industry is often perceived as being rather conservative when it comes to adopting renewable and sustainable technologies. However, last month’s energy market reform white paper – with its carbon price floor and other such measures – was largely seen as a wake-up call to energy intensive industries (EIIs).

Indeed the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), warned that the package could bankrupt EIIs or force heavy industry to move abroad.

For those wishing to stick around though, BRE are giving practical advice on Wednesday on how different renewable energy technologies can be applied to building projects.

Taking place in Watford, Hertfordshire the course aims to give attendees a basic introduction to renewable technology and assist delegates in making informed decisions about how best to use low and zero carbon technologies effectively and economically.

Crucially, it will look at not only at how the technologies work and how to identify them, but also provide information on their limitations.

Meanwhile, another conference this week aims to address the estimated £1bn lost to the economy each year when motorways and major trunk roads are closed and traffic grinds to a halt after accidents.

The new wing at the Silverstone race circuit will tomorrow host a series of presentations and demonstrations organised by Leica Geosystems on how 3D laser scanning technology can help collision investigators and scenes of crime specialists work faster and more efficiently.

Speakers at the conference will explain how the technology can be used as stand alone or integrated with total stations and with global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). Innovative field and office procedures, the preparation of  2D plans, reconstruction, through to full 3D visualisations for the court will be demonstrated and explained.

Presenting will be the collision investigation unit of Humberside Police, who as the earliest adopters of the technology in England, use Leica’s ScanStation C10 in a large number of road traffic accident (RTA) investigations.

John Rusted, senior collision investigator for the force said: ‘This kit has transformed the way we work and ensures we present the best evidence possible to the courts. In a matter of minutes the ScanStation C10 automatically  captures the complexity of the scene including the road markings and  topography. We can quickly and accurately produce 2D plans, put the environment before the court and effectively move them through it using 3D  visualisation.’

The Engineer frequently reports on how engineering and materials science is driving innovation in healthcare and medicine and that will be the topic of a conference on Thursday at the IET in Glasgow. Professionals from the medical world will discuss how technology has advanced their respective fields of general practice, dental practice and bionics.

Speakers include GP Dr Roger Brown who will discuss how advances have improved medical practice and patient care; Hugh Gill, chief technical officer of Touch Bionics who will look at the technical challenges involved in making bionic hands; and Dr Alex Dunlop of Dunlop & Humphries Dental Practice.