New Open Source Project Uses Machine Learning to Inform Quality Assurance for Construction in Emerging Nations

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Linux Foundation with support from IBM and Call for Code hosts ‘Intelligent Supervision Assistant for Construction’ project from Build Change to help builders identify structural issues in masonry walls or concrete columns, especially in areas affected by disasters

SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2021 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host the Intelligent Supervision Assistant for Construction (ISAC-SIMO) project, which was created by Build Change with a grant from IBM as part of the Call for Code initiative. The Autodesk Foundation, a Build Change funder, also contributed pro-bono expertise to advise the project’s development.

Build Change helps save lives in earthquakes and windstorms. Its mission is to prevent housing loss caused by disasters by transforming the systems that regulate, finance, build and improve houses around the world. 

ISAC-SIMO packages important construction quality assurance checks into a convenient mobile app. The tool harnesses the power of machine learning and image processing to provide feedback on specific construction elements such as masonry walls and reinforced concrete columns. Users can choose a building element check and upload a photo from the site to receive a quick assessment.

“ISAC-SIMO has amazing potential to radically improve construction quality and ensure that homes are built or strengthened to a resilient standard, especially in areas affected by earthquakes, windstorms, and climate change,” said Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, Founder & CEO of Build Change. “We’ve created a foundation from which the open source community can develop and contribute different models to enable this tool to reach its full potential. The Linux Foundation, building on the support of IBM over these past three years, will help us build this community.”

ISAC-SIMO was imagined as a solution to gaps in technical knowledge that were apparent in the field. The app ensures that workmanship issues can be more easily identified by anyone with a phone, instead of solely relying on technical staff. It does this by comparing user-uploaded images against trained models to assess whether the work done is broadly acceptable (go) or not (no go) along with a specific score. The project is itself built on open source software, including Python through Django, Jupyter Notebooks, and React Native.

“Due to the pandemic, the project deliverables and target audience have evolved. Rather than sharing information and workflows between separate users within the app, the app has pivoted to provide tools for each user to perform their own checks based on their role and location. This has led to a general framework that is well-suited for plugging in models from the open source community, beyond Build Change’s original use case,” said Daniel Krook, IBM Chief Technology Officer for the Call for Code Global Initiative.

IBM and The Linux Foundation have a rich history of deploying projects that fundamentally make change and progress in society through innovation – and remain committed during COVID-19. The winner of the 2018 Call for Code Global Challenge, Project OWL, contributed its IoT device firmware in March 2020 as the ClusterDuck Protocol, and since then, twelve more Call for Code deployment projects like ISAC-SIMO that address disasters, climate change, and racial justice, have been open sourced for communities that need them most.

The project encourages new users to contribute and to deploy the software in new environments around the world. Priorities for short term updates include improvements in user interface, contributions to the image dataset for different construction elements, and support to automatically detect if the perspective of an image is flawed. For more information, please visit: ​https://www.isac-simo.net/docs/contribute/.

For more information on IBM’s role in this work, please visit: https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/blogs/call-for-code-app-uses-ai-to-make-homes-safer-and-more-resilient/.

About The Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. The Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

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