UK Company Wins Contract to Improve Construction Safety in the Philippines

17-05-2021 |   |  By Robin Mitchell

UK-based company UtterBerry has won a contract in the Philippines to help improve safety conditions in construction environments. Who is UtterBerry, what products do they produce, and what will the contract aim to achieve?

Who is UtterBerry?

UtterBerry is a start-up company based in the UK that specialises in the development of AI and IoT devices. Their main product is a matchbox-sized device that can record multiple different sensory readings simultaneously, and this data is sent across a mesh network created by the devices.

However, the hardware is only half of the design; AI is heavily used to analyse this data to provide real-time responses. The recorded data is used in a geotechnical model that utilises AI to provide a full understanding of the environment using the sensors. Simply put, the sensors can be mounted on structures such as buildings and bridges to understanding how the various vibration, temperature changes, and traffic use affect the structure being monitored.

One example given by UtterBerry is the use of sensors during the construction of a building. However, instead of using the sensors on the building being constructed, they can instead be used on neighbouring buildings. This allows construction teams to understand how their building under construction affects nearby buildings (i.e. affecting their foundation, unsettling the ground, or causing structural damage).

What are the technical specifications of the UtterBerry?

While the official website of the UtterBerry does list what the device can measure, it is somewhat elusive on how the device operates. To start, the UtterBerry creates a mesh network for communication, but it is not stated on which frequency and what protocol. Because the device is designed to operate for long periods of time without needing a permanent power supply, we can safely assume that it does not use Wi-Fi, but instead a wireless technology such as Bluetooth LE.

The battery of the UtterBerry is a 230mAh lithium battery, and it is stated on the site that the battery life is 1 to 3 years. Videos showing the system in use do not show connected cables, and a device that only operates on such a battery for one day would be impractical. As such, it can be assumed that the device can indeed operate for up to 3 years on one charge.

The total weight of the product is 15 grams, has dimensions of 56.6mm x 31mm x 15.15mm, and an IP rating of IP68 making it ideal for most locations. 

With regards to sensors, no information is given on the sensor used, but details of what it can record and its accuracy are listed. Real-time movement can be captured including displacement, velocity, tilt, and acceleration. Real-time environmental data can be measured including temperature, humidity, pressure, and luminosity. The sensor also offers leak detection and leak prediction, and can also provide crowdsensing.

UtterBerry Wins Contract for Deployment in the Philippines

Recently, UtterBerry won a contract to deploy their technology in the Philippines in an effort to help developing nations improve their construction safety. The project has been funded by multiple parties including the Global Challenge Research Fund which focuses on improving safety in developing nations, and UtterBerry was ideal for selection as it already operates in the Asia Pacific with sensors in Hong Kong.

It is hoped that the sensor’s abilities to measure vibrations and changes in the environment will warn workers before major accidents occur. For example, a structurally weak area will exhibit changes in vibration and displacement, and the sensors ability to measure sub-millimetre changes will give workers ample time to react. Furthermore, the Philippines is ideal for the deployment of such sensors when government figures show that construction work is the third most dangerous sector to work in.

“UtterBerry is delighted to lead this project in the Philippines with the support of the Global Challenge Research Fund. We want to improve health and safety in the construction industry by deploying UtterBerry wireless sensors with artificial intelligence to reduce injuries and fatalities. We are also using our UtterBerry wireless sensors to diversify the construction workforce, creating new high-skilled jobs to analyse data from the sensors remotely.”  - Founder and CEO Heba Bevan

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By Robin Mitchell

Robin Mitchell is an electronic engineer who has been involved in electronics since the age of 13. After completing a BEng at the University of Warwick, Robin moved into the field of online content creation developing articles, news pieces, and projects aimed at professionals and makers alike. Currently, Robin runs a small electronics business, MitchElectronics, which produces educational kits and resources.

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