PhD Oral Exam - Khaled Nashba El Ammari, Building Engineering
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Facilities Management (FM) day-to-day tasks require suitable methods to facilitate work orders and improve performance by better collaboration between the office and the field. Building Information Modeling (BIM) provides opportunities to support collaboration and to improve the efficiency of Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMSs) by sharing building information between different applications/users throughout the lifecycle of the facility. However, manual retrieval of building element information can be challenging and time consuming for field workers during FM operations. Mixed Reality (MR) is a visualization technique that can be used to improve the visual perception of the facility by superimposing 3D virtual objects and textual information on top of the view of real-world building objects. The objectives of this research are: (1) investigating an automated method to capture and record task-related data (e.g., defects) with respect to a georeferenced BIM model and share them directly with the remote office based on the field worker point of view in mobile situations; (2) investigating the potential of using MR, BIM, and sensory data for FM tasks to provide improved visualization and perception that satisfy the needs of the facility manager at the office and the field workers with less visual and mental disturbance; and (3) developing an effective method for interactive visual collaboration to improve FM field tasks. This research discusses the development of a collaborative BIM-based MR approach to support facilities field tasks. The research framework integrates multisource facilities information, BIM models, and hybrid tracking in an MR-based setting to retrieve information based on time (e.g., inspection schedule) and the location of the field worker, visualize inspection and maintenance operations, and support remote collaboration and visual communication between the field worker and the manager at the office. The field worker uses an Augmented Reality (AR) application installed on his/her tablet. The manager at the office uses an Immersive Augmented Virtuality (IAV) application installed on a desktop computer. Based on the field worker location, as well as the inspection or maintenance schedule, the field worker is assigned work orders and instructions from the office. Other sensory data (e.g., infrared thermography) can provide additional layers of information by augmenting the actual view of the field worker and supporting him/her in making effective decisions about existing and potential problems while communicating with the office in an Interactive Virtual Collaboration (IVC) mode.
The contributions of this research are (1) developing a MR framework for facilities management which has a field AR module and an office IAV module. These modules can be used independently or combined using remote IVC, (2) developing visualization methods for MR including the virtual hatch and multilayer views to enhance visual depth and context perception, (3) developing methods for AR and IAV modeling including BIM-based data integration and customization suitable for each MR method, and (4) enhancing indoor tracking for AR FM systems by developing a hybrid tracking method. To investigate the applicability of the research method, a prototype system called Collaborative BIM-based Markerless Mixed Reality Facility Management System (CBIM3R-FMS) is developed and tested in a case study. The usability testing and validation show that the proposed methods have high potential to improve FM field tasks.