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Industrial Smoke Detection and Visualization

Tech. Report, CMU-RI-TR-16-55, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, September, 2016
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As sensing technology proliferates and becomes affordable to the general public, there is a growing trend in citizen science where scientists and volunteers form a strong partnership in conducting scientific research including problem finding, data collection, analysis, visualization, and storytelling. Providing easy-to-use computational tools to support citizen science has become an important issue. To raise the public awareness of environmental science and improve the air quality in local areas, we are currently collaborating with a local community in monitoring and documenting fugitive emissions from a coke refinery. We have helped the community members build a live camera system which captures and visualizes high resolution timelapse imagery starting from November 2014. However, searching and documenting smoke emissions manually from all video frames requires manpower and takes an impractical investment of time. This paper describes a software tool which integrates four features: (1) an algorithm based on change detection and texture segmentation for identifying smoke emissions; (2) an interactive timeline visualization providing indicators for seeking to interesting events; (3) an autonomous fast-forwarding mode for skipping uninteresting timelapse frames; and (4) a collection of animated smoke images generated automatically according to the algorithm for documentation, presentation, storytelling, and sharing. With the help of this tool, citizen scientists can now focus on the content of the story instead of time-consuming and laborious works.


author = {Yen-Chia Hsu and Paul S. Dille and Randy Sargent and Illah Nourbakhsh},
title = {Industrial Smoke Detection and Visualization},
year = {2016},
month = {September},
institution = {Carnegie Mellon University},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},
number = {CMU-RI-TR-16-55},