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### Florida Specialists Utilize Advanced AI for Home Condition Monitoring

UCF researchers are using virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools to predict how newer st…

It is frequently noted that robust structures are characterized by having “good legs.” However, how can an inspector ascertain if a building or gate has deteriorated legs?

In the medical realm, physicians rely on X-rays for diagnosing patients, and now local scientists aim to equip engineers with comparable monitoring tools. To enhance the surveillance of infrastructure such as buildings and roads, researchers at the University of Central Florida are working on virtual reality and artificial intelligence solutions.

In 2019, the United States was ranked 13th globally for its aging infrastructure by the World Economic Forum. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a C grade in 2021, highlighting the need for advanced systems to enhance the monitoring and maintenance of buildings, roads, and streets.

Furthermore, there is a looming threat posed by legislation that could lead to the demolition of numerous historic structures in Florida.

Necati Catbas, a professor at UCF, is tackling this challenge by developing four distinct solutions. In collaboration with a team of UCF students, Catbas envisions that their technology will empower engineers to inspect structures similar to how physicians examine patients.

Lockheed Martin St. Laurent’s Dr. Catbas emphasizes that utilizing MRI or X-ray technology provides a comprehensive understanding of structural conditions, drawing a parallel to a medical examination.

An overview of an AR-assisted assessment framework visually processes data for an initial design evaluation.

One groundbreaking technology pioneered by UCF researchers is “computer vision,” which assists in identifying structural deficiencies that are imperceptible to the naked eye. By using headphones connected to sensors within a structure, users can monitor the vibration and movement of support beams. This technology enables users to interact with identified cracks in augmented reality and leverage predictive tools to visualize potential changes.

Computer vision, tailored for visual structural health inspections, eliminates the necessity for physical access to structures, proving advantageous for inspectors.

Catbas points out that current inspection practices heavily depend on physical assessments, underscoring the importance of expertise and experience. While these skills develop over time, they are complemented by advanced systems.

Another tool available to users is the Conceptual Adversarial Network, which allows for the projection of potential structural deterioration or alterations based on historical data from a similar structure.

Catbas elaborates, stating, “We derive new insights from existing data, similar to chemical data creation. Through algorithms and methodologies, we can predict the structural implications of damage.”

The UCF team has also introduced an interactive visualization system that enables “virtual tours” of structures or bridges remotely using virtual reality technology. This system provides real-time insights into a building’s condition within a computer-simulated environment overlaid with VR data.

Through hand gestures, the photogrammetry model accurately measures the volume of an object, enhancing the precision of real-world data collection.

Catbas likens the experience to embarking on a virtual tour of a bridge, granting users increased flexibility to access both the physical site and relevant data.

Lastly, the Collective Knowledge Platform harnesses AI to streamline inspection processes. Inspectors utilize headsets or handheld devices to analyze damaged areas in real time, eliminating the need for manual measurements and offering insights into the building’s status.

Catbas stresses the importance of efficient data management and understanding within complex data domains as the ultimate goals of these technologies.

While these advanced structural technologies are poised for integration into engineering standards, Catbas notes that they must undergo review by various committees before being implemented in routine engineering and inspection practices nationwide.

Catbas underscores the pivotal role of technology in modern infrastructure, highlighting its potential to assist in post-disaster recovery efforts, extending beyond individual assessments of bridges and viaducts. By identifying crucial connections within communities, highways, and structures, these technologies can pinpoint areas necessitating attention, preparation, and support to bolster resilience.

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Last modified: February 19, 2024
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