New eye-tracking technology could save construction industry millions

Engineers in Australia are currently developing new eye-tracking technologies aimed at detecting building defects during the early stages of construction. This innovation has the potential to save companies significant amounts of money, time, and resources. The technology is integrated into 3D headsets and aims to assist construction workers in conducting more comprehensive checklists, thereby reducing the approximately 60 percent of building costs associated with rectifying mistakes.

A team of researchers, including University of South Australia Ph.D. student Kieran May, computer scientist Dr. James Walsh, and their colleagues from UniSA’s Australian Research Center for Interactive and Virtual Environments, has created a tool that combines building information modeling with eye gaze data obtained during a standard building inspection.

Dr. Walsh explains that the augmented reality headsets emit laser beams from the user’s eye, enabling the tracking of their gaze within a 3D model while conducting a building inspection. The eye-tracking technology ensures the accuracy of the checklist process by comparing the construction workers’ eye gaze data with the 3D architectural building model.

Credit: University of South Australia

The eye-tracking tool developed by the Australian engineers aims to ensure thoroughness during building inspections by verifying that essential elements have been adequately checked. It helps identify if light switches, taps, cables, or pipes are the correct type and properly installed. While there may be a tendency to merely tick off checklist items without conducting a rigorous inspection, this can lead to costly consequences if defects are overlooked.

Dr. Walsh emphasizes that the eye-tracking data does not replace the checklist but acts as a validation mechanism, requiring defects to be manually recorded. By identifying issues early on, the construction industry can save time and money by addressing them promptly and cost-effectively.

To assess the effectiveness of the tool, the researchers are collaborating with construction partners to evaluate its performance throughout the life cycle of a building project. This practical approach highlights the immediate applicability of the project, providing industry solutions in the present rather than years down the line.

In conclusion, the eye-tracking technology serves as a valuable aid in ensuring thorough building inspections, ultimately contributing to cost savings and streamlined timelines within the construction industry.

Source: University of South Australia

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