Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and Associate Professor
Development and Validation of Smart Urban Furniture
The overall purpose of this study is to create a seamless and ubiquitous connection between the physical environment and information resources in areas of need. One way to achieve this goal within the context of public space is to develop a furniture system that can provide wireless connectivity, environmental sensing capabilities, and a power source for device charging.
This seed grant will fund support matching funds for the Seed Grant IGP proposal requested and includes: salary supplement for faculty, one graduate student, subject-participant incentives, and additional material and equipment needs for the fabrication of a cull-scale prototype.
This study aims to connect the physical environment with information resources through the use of low-cost ubiquitous technology in the form of smart urban furniture in public spaces in order to develop a furniture-system for use in neglected and under-utilized rural areas. This proposal will explore the feasibility of developing smart, solar powered, street furniture with the goal to provide free charging access for smart phone and small electronic devices while housing Wi-Fi routers and sensing capabilities for public spaces. The potential t6o design, prototype and successfully fabricate a smart furniture system for communities to adopt and implement to address, in part, recent United Nations (UN) goals that speak to sustainable energy initiatives and improving accessibility to information through internet access.
Research activities will be developed in three phases, which include (1) Design ideation; (2) Testing and verification; and (3) Revisions and recommendations.
Virtual Reality Headsets for Immersive 3D Environment: Investigating Applications in Construction Safety and Jobsite Management
The aim of this research is to investigate application of 3D virtual reality headsets in construction practice, education, and research. This emerging technology could be a game changer in the design and construction industry.
The Seed Grant will fund summer salary for the principal investigator and for a graduate research assistant along with operating and equipment expenses.
The aim of this research is to investigate applications of 3D virtual reality headsets in construction practice, education and research. The specific objectives are as follows: (1) to investigate state-of-the-art of virtual reality headsets and other related wearable devices; (2) to demonstrate their applications in at least two areas namely construction safety and jobsite management; (3) to develop relevant examples for classroom and/or future students/visitors demonstrations; and (4) to develop a framework outlining applications and impact of VR headsets in construction education and practice. Oculus Rift® headgear will be used but if other better wearable devices are identified through this research, they can be included in the investigation.
The results of this research will help us to determine the value and best applications of VR headsets in construction education and practice. We can develop small training programs (or games) for our current and future students to introduce them to the issues on construction jobsites without visiting a jobsite. We can also collaborate with the construction industry to develop state-of-the-art VR-based training programs for their employees. Last but not least this study will help us to determine problem areas where future VR research can be conducted.
A mixed-methods approach will be adopted for data collection. The major research steps will be as follows: (1) Extensive literature search will be conducted to find out related articles and case studies. Construction companies will also be contacted to gather their feedback; (2) Three to four scenarios demonstrating applications of 3D VR headsets in construction safety and jobsite management will be created; (3) Selected construction professionals will be invited to view these scenarios through the eyes of Oculus Rift®; (4) a group discussion will be conducted to discuss the results and to outline recommendations.
Alabama Workshop Toolkit
This research investigates how the physical and social environment of craft production workshops in Alabama contribute to creative communities, social cooperation and sustainable economies.
The Seed Grant will fund the creation of the Alabama Workshop[s] toolkit and will involve travel to the 25 artisans across the state who are part of Alabama Workshop[s] to make site visits to create the printed and online version of the Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit.
The project deliverable is a printed and online publication tentatively called the Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit. The self-published toolkit will focus on the ethnography of the physical and social environments of up to twenty-five workshops. The Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit is a graphic guide for artisans and workshop participants. It will provide information about how to organize and lead workshops, materials to provide participants, how to manage meals, lodging, travel, recommended costs for participation, how to promote workshops and how to connect other areas of interests to workshop locations. The Toolkit will be used to foster connections between craft production communities and provide a catalyst for building creative economies in the State of Alabama.
Twenty-five workshops located in rural and urban Alabama communities that promote craft heritage and community-driven economies have been identified as the basis for study. The selected workshops exemplify exceptional work that has received regional and/or national attention in a range of media including textiles, quilting, found objects, mixed media, metal, fiber, glass and pottery. Research and in-depth ethnographic study of the physical and social environment of craft production in the workshop will be conducted through firsthand observation, hands-on participation, photographic documentation and documented conversations with the artisans, workshop participants, and community members.
Pedagogical Transformations: 2D to 3D within the First Year Program of Architecture
This Seed Grant supports direct pedagogical research related to the teaching of two-dimensional to three-dimensional object representation. The primary purpose of the grant is to provide funds for equipment to support the pedagogical efforts of foundation level faculty in the architecture program.
The CADC Seed Grant will fund a 3D full color scanner; scanner kit including stand, light, linear laser and calibration tool; and testing materials and supplies.
For the past three years, the First Year Program in Architecture has been progressing through a pedagogical shift as to the direct implementation of our core values stated above. The faculty believe that we are at a unique juncture in architectural education to take direct advantage of technological advances to assist the students with study areas that are often particularly challenging in the first year of design study. In particular, we have been working diligently to directly address challenges students face regarding the translation of two-dimensional objects to three dimensional objects. For the past several years, we have implemented digital tools in the classroom to launch the students further than we have been able to in the past relying on only analog tools. We now believe that we can take this even further.
This SEED Grant proposal is to support direct pedagogical research related to the teaching of two-dimensional to three-dimensional object representation.
The methods for completion of this project are simple in nature but require continuous dedication on the part of First Year Program faculty. The project will cycle continuously on an annual basis with each cohort of students that enters the program.
It is anticipated that the two investigators of this research will use the equipment supported by this grant to accelerate and enhance student learning through a series of projects introduced in the first year of study. Traditionally the 2D to 3D project is either the last project of the first semester of study or the first project in the second semester of study. We do not anticipate this to change as this project location resonates with the remainder of the sequence of study and fulfills certain learning objectives that feed subsequent projects.
Designing the Urban Landscape
The Seed Grant supports travel and case-study research for a definitive reference book about Low Impact Development (LID).
The Seed Grant will fund case-study travel, and graphic design and editorial assistance.
The book project provides the definitive reference for planning, design, implementation, and maintenance of Low Impact Development (LID) for sustainable stormwater design. The book will focus on innovative project examples built throughout the eastern region (USA). Its introduction will develop the overall big-picture view of LID investment as vital for vibrant and healthy communities from and an economic and sustainable perspective. The graphically-rich book will consist of three major sections: (1) LID in Context; (2) LID in Detail; (3) LID in Action.
The book will offer specific knowledge presented in a format with many detailed case studies that can be adapted to a wide variety of global climates and the needs of communities of varying size. While written through the lens of landscape architecture, there are many policy, planning technical, and operational viewpoints that must be incorporated into a book covering this material. Therefore, the authors will include contributions, case studies, and other information from a range of disciplines. As these projects are inherently interdisciplinary in nature, the dialogue will include a broad approach that captures the nature of LID involving policy makers, planners, designers, engineers, maintenance personnel and others to provide a full spectrum of the concept from inception to long-term function.
Junshan Liu, McWhorter School of Building Science
Charlene LeBleu, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture
Digital Documentation of Fort Gaines Using LiDAR and 3D Photogrammetry Technology
The purpose of this Seed Grant is to update the Fort Gaines National Historic Places documentation and Mobile Bay battlefield National Register nomination by adding additional building and landscape information.
The Seed Grant will fund summer salaries and travel costs for new digital documentation and analysis of Fort Gaines to access any new damages to the fort and to test new technology of a Leica C-10 High Definition Scanner on historic building/site preservation.
This project seeks to collect additional survey data at Fort Gaines and its surrounding areas using two technologies (1) LIDAR—using a Leica Geosystems Scan Station C10 Laser Scanner to capture 3D point clouds; and (2) 3D Photogrammetry—using a Leica T camera to take digital photos and then generating 3D point clouds in AgiSoft Photoscan from these photos. This project will provide additional documentation of the interior/exterior of the fort and the remnant of land encompassed within its historic designation boundary. This project will also compare the data with the information acquired from the laser scans conducted in 2012. The proposal will scan, analyze, research, assess, prioritize and report finds on the fort and the surrounding landscape. A major benefit will be to evaluate the area of the fort and landscape with the LIDAR and Photogrammetry, two new survey technologies that will provide digital data to aid in establishing and pursuing additional building and landscape preservation objectives. The finding of this study will used to update both the National Register of Historic Places designation of Fort Gaines and add additional information to the National Register nomination of the Mobile Bay civil war battlefield.
Additional historical research data will be collected using:
1. LIDAR technology—a Leica Geosystems Scan Station C10 Scanner and supporting software programs to capture photos, point cloud, on-the-ground documentation of building and landscape change, identification of impending threats, and site mapping.
2. 3D Photogrammetry technology—Âa Leica T camera to take digital photos and then process these photos in AgiSoft Photoscan to generate 3D point clouds of the Officers Headquarters building in the fort.
The Alabama State Archives in Montgomery will be used for additional historical research as well as libraries at Auburn University, University of Alabama, University of South Alabama and Mobile County, AL libraries.
Comparison of new point clouds with the ones captured in 2012 will be used to identify changes in this historic site, such as movement of sand dunes, shoreline and other landscape phenomena, structural damages, and so on.
Use of Augmented Reality Devices on the Construction Site
The purpose of this Seed Grant is to develop contextual Augmented Reality (AR) images for construction operations, using wearable devices.
This Seed Grant will fund the purchase of Epsom Moverio BT-200 AR Glasses, Vuzix Wrap 1200DXAR Glasses, Software Development Kit (SDK) to customize AR Devices and training to customize AR Devices.
This is an exploratory research project proposing to use two AR devices to test their viability for use in the construction industry. The Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses and the Vuzix Wrap 1200DXAR devices will used for field studies on the a construction site. The researcher will develop methods to use 2D/3D images extracted from a BIM model to make real time decisions on the construction site. The project will seek construction industry partners in the Birmingham and/or Atlanta areas to test the viability on a live construction project.
This exploratory study will be conducted in two phases. Phase one will include device customization to represent contextual construction specific images; a framework for extracting customized 2D/3D AR images from BIM will be developed; and the technological benefits and limitation of AR based wearable devices will be evaluated. Phase two will use a case-study to approach and will involve testing the devices in real-world situations on two construction sites and then evaluating the benefits and limitations with site personnel to extract AR images in real-time.