Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Keeping Bridges Safe: New Imaging Program Automatically Detects Irregularities in Bridges

Date:
November 17, 2008
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
In order for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to cross bridges safely, bridges must be regularly inspected for damage. An new image processing program automatically detects irregularities in the bridge material.

Cracks in bridges are far from unusual. A new software program can now help to identify such damage at an early stage.
Credit: Copright Fraunhofer ITWM

In order for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to cross bridges safely, bridges must be regularly inspected for damage. An image processing program automatically detects irregularities in the bridge material.

Related Articles


Spanning deep gorges, rivers and freeways, bridges are an indispensable part of the traffic network. Yet their condition in Germany is appalling: In a survey carried out by the German automobile club ADAC in 2007, one in ten bridges out of the fifty that were inspected failed the test; a total of four were rated “poor” and one was even rated “very poor”. The changing effects of weather and temperature, road salt and the increasing volume of traffic all take their toll on the material – quickly causing damage such as hairline cracks, flaking concrete, and rust penetration. If the bridge engineers fail to recognize these in time, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are endangered.

Until now, inspectors have always examined a bridge for visible damage directly on site. They cover cracks, for instance, with adhesive strips that expand if the crack gets larger. A new image processing program is set to make these inspection measures unnecessary in future. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern have developed this software jointly with fellow scientists from the Italian company Infracom. “The software automatically examines the photos of a bridge for certain characteristics and irregularities, for instance marked discoloration,” explains ITWM scientist Markus Rauhut. “Unlike a human, the tool doesn’t miss any abnormalities – even minor damage is identified and signaled.”

The challenge is that no two bridges are alike. They differ in terms of their shape, construction material and surface structure, while the color depends on the material, the dirt or fouling, and the degree of humidity. The software has to be able to handle these discrepancies. To make this possible, the researchers have extracted metrics from photographs that include the characteristically elongated shape of a hairline crack, the typical discoloration in damp places, and the structures of the material – which are different for a concrete bridge than for a steel bridge.

All of this information is now stored in a database. When the researchers load a photo into the program, the software compares the features of the new image with those of the saved images. If it detects any irregularities, it marks the respective area on the photo. The bridge inspector can now decide how serious the damage is. Does something need to be done? The faster any damage is identified and clearly categorized, the simpler and less expensive it is to repair it. The engineers have been using the new software successfully for the past six months to inspect bridges in Italy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Keeping Bridges Safe: New Imaging Program Automatically Detects Irregularities in Bridges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103091028.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2008, November 17). Keeping Bridges Safe: New Imaging Program Automatically Detects Irregularities in Bridges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103091028.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Keeping Bridges Safe: New Imaging Program Automatically Detects Irregularities in Bridges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103091028.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins