Chen: Observing invisible vibrations

September 1, 2015


For Justin Chen, a PhD student in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), there is more to observe in the built environment than meets the eye. So much more, in fact, that he has designed his entire academic attention CEE to center on structural health monitoring. “Everyday, people drive on bridges, enter buildings, obtain water through infrastructure, and so on,” Chen says.

“The central question my collaborators and I are trying to answer is: How do we keep infrastructure operational, even when it’s battered by the elements?” Although most would describe buildings as completely static, Chen says his work reveals structural movement the naked eye alone cannot perceive. Using a computer vision technique called motion magnification, Chen and his colleagues successfully catch imperceptibly tiny vibrations in structures. Read more of this article and a small interview with Chen at MIT News

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