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Open AccessArticle

Development of Tactile Imaging for Underwater Structural Damage Detection

Key Laboratory of Concrete and Prestressed Concrete Structures of the Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Saitama University., Saitama 338-8570, Japan
School of Computing and Engineering, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(18), 3925;
Received: 16 July 2019 / Revised: 25 August 2019 / Accepted: 9 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
Underwater structural damage inspection has mainly relied on diver-based visual inspection, and emerging technologies include the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for improved efficiency. With the goal of performing an autonomous and robotic underwater inspection, a novel Tactile Imaging System for Underwater Inspection (TISUE) is designed, prototyped, and tested in this paper. The system has two major components, including the imaging subsystem and the manipulation subsystem. The novelty lies in the imaging subsystem, which consists of an elastomer-enabled contact-based optical sensor with specifically designed artificial lighting. The completed TISUE system, including optical imaging, data storage, display analytics, and a mechanical support subsystem, is further tested in a laboratory experiment. The experiment demonstrates that high-resolution and high-quality images of structural surface damage can be obtained using tactile ‘touch-and-sense’ imaging, even in a turbid water environment. A deep learning-based damage detection framework is developed and trained. The detection results demonstrate the similar detectability of five damage types in the obtained tactile images to images obtained from regular (land-based) structural inspection. View Full-Text
Keywords: tactile imaging; underwater structures; damage inspection; nondestructive evaluation tactile imaging; underwater structures; damage inspection; nondestructive evaluation
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Chen, X.; Wu, G.; Hou, S.; Fan, J.; Dang, J.; Chen, Z. Development of Tactile Imaging for Underwater Structural Damage Detection. Sensors 2019, 19, 3925.

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