Human-Centric Sensing Platform to Assess Neighborhood Physical Disorder

Our vision is to create a human-centric sensing framework that identifies and locates neighborhoods’ built environments’ physical disorders in semi real-time. Assuming human movement is analogous to thermodynamics (e.g., changes in the entropy of particles are caused by additional heat), this framework will detect changes in the collective entropy of humans’ physiological responses (i.e., Gait Patterns, Heart Rate, Galvanic Skin Response) to discover the presence of physical disorder elements. This project will encompass two novel components: (1) the design of a novel collective response entropy (CRE) model that evaluates community residents’ physiological sensing data; and (2) the creation of a participatory sensing platform that diagnoses the physical disorders of a community in semi real-time. This framework effectively connects a physical system with cyber space, a linkage that will yield unprecedented progress in built-environment assessment practices.
Acknowledgment: This project is supported by the National Science Foundation Award #1538029.

Revealing Hidden Safety Hazards Using Workers' Collective Bodily and Behavioral Response Patterns

The objective of this research is to examine whether, how, and to what extent workers' collective bodily and behavioral response patterns identify recognized/unrecognized hazards for the purpose of enhancing safety performance in construction environments. This research focuses on detecting hazards that causes fall accidents, a single most dangerous injury event within the construction industry, using workers - kinematic sensing data captured from wearable inertial measurement sensors. This research hypothesizes that the collective abnormalities apparent in multiple workers' balance and gait in one location is correlated with the likelihood of the presence (and/or the risk) of a recognized/unrecognized fall hazard in that location.
Acknowledgment: This project is supported by the National Science Foundation Award #1538029.

Developing a Crack Routing Device for Improving the Current Crack Preparation Practices

Crack routing allows the crack to be cleaned properly, exposes a clean side wall for better adhesion, and allows sealing material in the crack expand and contract during hot and cold climates. Conventional crack routing methods are largely ineffective, labor intensive and/or dangerous. The main objective of this project is to upgrade the design of the pneumatic crack cleaning device, which was previously developed by the research team, particularly for a crack routing function and to evaluate its effectiveness for improving the current crack preparation practices and for possible adoption as a standard in NDOR.
Acknowledgment: This project is supported by Nebraska Department of Roads.

Construction Safety Hazard Detection Through Continuous Monitoring of Construction Workers’ Behavior Using Wearable Wireless Sensor Networks

The dynamic construction environment and unpredictable workers’ behaviors pose a key challenge in the identification of safety hazards within a construction jobsite. The goal of this research is thus to provide a continuous and reliable assessment of safety hazards, in particular related to fall accidents, by exploring the application of low-cost wireless sensor networks (WSNs), consisting of wearable inertial measurement units (IMU) and wireless data communication devices, in monitoring construction workers' behaviors.
Acknowledgment: This project is supported by the Nebraska Research Initiative(NRI).

Occupant Intervention System to Drive Energy Efficiency in Commercial and Institutional buildings

Occupant intervention, which aims to change the energy consumption behavior of building occupants, has the potential to achieve significant energy savings in building operations using a cost-effective manner. However, its implementation in commercial and institutional buildings is particularly challenging due to the fact that it is difficult to track the energy consumption of part-time/temporary occupants and the fact that there is a complicated relationship between energy users and utility bill payers. The goal of this research is thus to develop a system to track temporary occupants’ energy load and provide effective occupant intervention in commercial and institutional building settings.
Acknowledgment: This project is supported by the UNL Research Council Interdisciplinary Grant.

Recognizing Activities of Construction Equipment using a Smartphone

The overall objective of the proposed research is to test a framework that automatically recognizes the driving and work events of heavy diesel equipment, using a smartphone as a multi-sensor hub, which allows assessing the productivity of equipment-related operation, quantifying air pollutant emissions generated from equipment use, and identifying operators’ driving patterns as related to safety. This research, in particular, focuses on the analysis of data from inertial measurement units (IMU) (e.g., three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer) embedded in a smartphone, and leverages the effectiveness of the driving event recognition by data fusion with other sensing information from the smartphone (e.g., GPS, cellular data network, video cameras).

An Integrated Framework for Estimating, Benchmarking and Monitoring the Environmental Impacts of Construction Operations

Construction operations are highly energy-intensive and account for significant environmental impacts, including Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and other engine exhaust emissions. This research aims to establish an integrated management framework that encompasses environmentally conscious planning and environmental performance monitoring in order to facilitate environmentally sustainable construction project.