University of South Australia researchers are developing new eye-tracking technology using augmented reality to identify building defects early in the construction process.
The technology, embedded in 3D headsets, is designed to help construction workers undertake more thorough checklists and has the potential to revolutionise the building industry and prevent multiple defects that can contribute to 60% of building costs.
University of South Australia PhD student Kieran May, computer scientist Dr James Walsh and colleagues from UniSA’s Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments, have designed a tool that combines building information modelling and eye gaze data captured during a standard building inspection.
“The augmented reality headsets shoot laser beams out of the bottom of the user’s eye to track where they are looking in a 3D model when they do a building inspection,” said Dr Walsh.
The eye-tracking technology validates the checklist process, ensuring that construction workers are doing a thorough inspection by matching their eye gaze data against the 3D architectural building model.
“Depending on the nature of the build, whether it’s bespoke or more standardised, the temptation is to tick checklist boxes without doing a rigid inspection, and that can cost thousands of dollars if defects are not picked up early on,” said Dr Walsh, adding that the eye-tracking data does not replace a checklist, but validates it, so defects must still be manually recorded.
“For the construction industry, at the end of the day it’s all about costs and timelines. The earlier we can identify what has gone wrong, the quicker we can fix it and the cheaper it is going to be to remedy it.”
The researchers are working with construction partners to evaluate the tool on site over the life cycle of a building project.
The project was presented at the 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in Singapore.