LJMU first university to use teaching and research 'robot dog'

Engineers at LJMU have gone out and bought a dog!

It’s four-legged and likes a little walk but Spot won’t be barking or looking for cuddles as it’s a robot dog designed for civil engineering surveys.

LJMU is the first university in Europe to acquire one and plans to use the £150k pooch for teaching and research.

Dr Fiona Borthwick, Interim Subject Head of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, said: “Some of you will have seen Spot around Byrom on Friday when we went out for our first walk and the dog will be on show at Open Day this Saturday, November 19.

“We’ve been excited about Spot for a very long time, so we’re pleased that we now have Spot up and walking – not quite running yet!

“We still have some training to do and we will be opening up some sessions before Christmas to show people Spot’s capabilities and explore options for extra gadgets.”

Spot has been developed by Trimble and adapted by Liverpool mapping and surveying specialists Korec to enter buildings which are unsafe for humans or to survey building projects as they progress.

The ‘dog’ can be programmed to patrol 24/7 to scan building sites in order to map progress in construction. It then feeds 3D images into Building Information Management schedules.

“It's a great plus for our students that they will be familiar with this technology before they go full-time into the industry," said Fiona, adding: "We do need to find another name than Spot, and please bear in mind it could be a male or female dog!” added Fiona.

“I’d welcome suggestions – but sensible ones only please. No Boaty McBoatface!!”


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