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Xin Wang, pictured center, accepts a Best Paper Award from ASCE staff and others during the 2024 CI & CRC Joint Conference.
May 15, 2024

Xin Wang redefines human-robot collaboration in construction

Written By: Stephanies Vang


Groundbreaking research on human-robot collaboration in construction spearheaded by Xin Wang, CEE PhD 2024, has captured the industry’s attention, earning Wang the Best Paper Award among more than 400 submissions in the CI & CRC Joint Conference.

“Our research works to improve interaction efficiency with construction robots, decrease onsite safety issues, refine the design and implementation of construction robots, and promote the adoption of robots in construction,” shares Wang.

Construction robots and autonomous machines have shown the potential to transform the construction industry for years. However, they have not been widely adopted on construction sites for a variety of reasons. Wang devised a strategy utilizing first-person vision as contextual information to improve gesture interaction efficiency. Through a series of tests from different construction sites, this new method of human-robot collaboration shows promise for the future of construction innovation.

“We believe an intuitive and accurate human-robot interface can help contribute to resolving the above barriers. On one hand, the establishment of such interface can greatly enhance the operability of robots in dynamic construction environments. On the other hand, such interface helps to build a safe environment for worker-robot collaboration.”

The Construction Institute (CI) and Construction Research Congress (CRC) Conference is a biennial event that serves as a platform for researchers, academics, and industry professionals within the construction field to convene and exchange insights, advancements, and best practices. This year, the 2024 CI & CRC Joint Conference was hosted at Iowa State University with its theme centered around “Constructing Connections across Research and Industry.”

“Presenting my findings sparked engaging discussions and drew the attention of scholars from other institutions. The conference facilitated invaluable networking opportunities, allowing me to make meaningful connections with fellow students and faculty members, fostering new friendships and potential collaborations.”

Wang received assistance from civil and environmental engineering Assistant Professor Zhenhua Zhu, industrial and systems engineering Professor Raj Veeramani, and civil and environmental engineering Associate Professor Fei Dai from West Virginia University.

With graduation lined up, Wang is defending his thesis this May with hopes to continue his research and teaching through faculty positions in academia.

“Winning this award has opened doors to new opportunities and collaborations. It has boosted my confidence and motivation to delve deeper into my research endeavors, knowing that my work has made a meaningful contribution to the field.”

Featured image, from left to right: Gregory Moore, A.M.ASCE, Atlanta DOT, CI President;  Farah Mneimneh, Ph.D., Iowa State University; Yunjeong (Leah) Mo, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, Iowa State University; Xin Wang, award winner, UW-Madison; Cristina Poleacovschi, M.ASCE, Iowa State University; Marsia Geldert-Murphey, P.E., F.ASCE, ASCE 2024 President.