As I have become accustomed to the schedule of life here at University of Michigan, I have been looking for ways to become further engaged within the discussions of research occurring here.  Today, I most recently met with Professor SangHyun Lee to learn more about his research regarding computation and construction.  During our discussion, he showed me a sneak peek into the exciting research he has underway.

One of his primary agendas is the studying and quantifying of human behavior, via sensors and photography equipment.  This allows for the computers to recognize performance – including physical movement or the placement of particular building elements – and its relationship to productivity.  In one of his studies, a stimulation of this found that a company could actually reduce their hours of work by 6% and still reach the same productivity; an increase of productivity was achieved by understanding the human internal cycle and periods of most productivity.  Other applications include monitoring of safety.  Cameras capture data that then can be analyzed, providing information as to whether a worker is using correct posture during construction.  Furthermore, a change in productivity can be analyzed as it relates to injury.  With an increase in pressure from management or from having to fix work, the chance of an injury drastically increase.

His other areas of interest include sustainability and construction, specifically as it relates to diesel engines.  Given the advent of new sensor technology, it is practically to think that in the near future we will be able to better quantify construction waste and emissions.

This type of research provides an interesting framework to think of how we work and what kinds of data we aim to quantify.  As part of Construction Administration, it takes the intuition a step further, providing for a greater accuracy and a better way in which to estimate time, quality, and cost.