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Front. Built Environ. | doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2019.00044

Measuring structural deformations in the laboratory environment using smartphones

 Rolands Kromanis1*, Yan Xu2,  Darragh Lydon3,  Jesus Martinez del Rincon3 and Amin Al-Habaibeh1
  • 1Civil Engineering Section, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
  • 2Vibration Engineering Section, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 3School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom

The engineering education and research sectors are interlinked, and there exists a need within both for readily deployable low-cost systems. Smartphones are affordable and easy to use technology available to almost everyone. Images or video frames taken with smartphone cameras, of structures subjected to loadings, can be analysed to measure structural deformations. Such applications are very useful for university students and researchers when performing tests in laboratory environments. This paper investigates the feasibility of using smartphone technologies to measure structural deformation in the laboratory environment. Images and videos collected while structures are subjected to static, dynamic and quasi-static loadings are analysed with freeware and proprietary software. This study demonstrates capabilities of smartphone technologies, when coupled with suitable image processing software, for providing accurate information about structural deformations. Smartphones and open source software are affordable and available in comparison to professional cameras and proprietary software. The technology can be further developed to be used in real world environments to monitor deformation of engineering structures.

Keywords: Image proccesing, Deformation monitoring, Vision-based, Laboratory tests, smartphone technologies, Static test, dynamic test, Quasi-static test

Received: 26 Jul 2018; Accepted: 14 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Branko Glisic, Princeton University, United States

Reviewed by:

Irwanda Laory, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Jeffrey S. Weidner, The University of Texas at El Paso, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Kromanis, Xu, Lydon, Martinez del Rincon and Al-Habaibeh. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Rolands Kromanis, Nottingham Trent University, Civil Engineering Section, Nottingham, United Kingdom, rolands.kromanis@ntu.ac.uk