e-Newsletter Issue 57
The “Remote Crack Measuring System and Device” Wins the Platinum Award at the 2015 Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart

The island of Taiwan is located in an area of the world where earthquakes frequently occur. Earthquake damage in the form of cracks are commonly seen in many of Taiwan’s buildings, therefore, the accurate measuring of these cracks has become an important investigation item in the field of building safety. Taiwan’s National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC), under Taiwan’s National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs), has developed a crack measuring technology that integrates laser positioning, crack image identification technology, and cell phone technology, to be able to remotely measure cracks caused by earthquakes. This advanced technology is able to remotely measure the precise length and width of cracks. This technology won the Platinum Award at the 2015 Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart for its innovation and marketability.

Contact measurement and non-contact measurement are the two main crack measuring technologies used currently. The most commonly used method of measuring cracks on buildings or bridges is by using transparent crack scales. Transparent crack scales can be used to measure cracks in areas within reach, however, they can’t measure cracks not within reach, such as cracks on ceilings, on the external walls of tall buildings, underneath bridges, or when the wall cement is deteriorating. For this reason, non-contact measurement technology is used to measure these types of cracks.

Unfortunately, non-contact measurement devices are very expensive--usually costing hundreds of thousands of New Taiwan dollars (i.e. more than USD $3,000), and the type that incorporates radar scanning technology often costs more than one million New Taiwan dollars (i.e. USD $30,000+)! In an effort to make crack measuring easier and less cost-prohibitive, NCHC researchers developed a very low cost, portable, non-contact crack measuring cell phone system that integrates laser positioning and smart phone computing technology into one easy-to-use platform! In the very near future, this system will also be able to integrate with unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones) in order to access areas that technicians aren’t able to.

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