Recently, an old building in Hong Kong was discovered to have the potential to collapse, as major fractures are found in the external wall of the building.
While I’m daydreaming, I wonder if machine learning can help find these fractures, by supplying enough sample photos. That’s why I initiate this 30-minute project.
The platform I’m using is Teachable Machines by Google. It is a machine learning platform that does not require any programming, at least at this stage to prove my concept is workable.
I collected around 20 photos each, with and without fractures, in Google Images, and supply them to the Teachable Machines platform.
After a half-minute machine training stage, the system is ready for analyzing photos. I then upload a Google street view of the fractured building.
The platform told me that the building has a 79% of chance that it has no fracture at all. Oops. That’s probably not true. It is because the street view contains too many things other than the concerned building.
Then I try to zoom in on the building and re-supply this new image for analysis.
Bam! The result is accurate this time. It told me that the building has a 93% of chance that it has some fractures.
Conclusion & Future Implementation
To conclude, Teachable Machines by Google are useful to find out fractures on the external walls in the building, even if I supplied very few sample photos. Well done again, Google.
For further development, I wish there is a way to walk around a city via Google Maps Street View to find out the fractures automatically. A lot of steps are needed, as in my imagination right now:
- Automation of walking around a city (with a reasonable boundary) using Google Maps Street View
- Capture all the buildings along the path (and crop away non-building parts)
- Upload the building images to the trained model for analysis
- Send the problematic cases to an administrator / building service department for further inspection (with geolocation / address, which can be obtained in Step 1)
The trained model can be used in TensorFlow for further processing using programming, which has a huge potential to become a useful platform. I hope some building service guys can see this article and research this area.
Okay, my work is done now. 28 minutes including typing this article.
Teachable Machine project link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rs5aPllHxNg0xK_O4Pq7HBWL6E51qysj/view?usp=sharing
The problematic building in Google Maps: