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Talking trash in Jakarta

CEE graduate student Frank Sedlar has developed a system combining time lapse cameras and computer vision algorithms in order to better understand how the complex urban environment clashes with its powerful natural forces.| Short Read
Known for its susceptibility to quick and severe flooding, the rivers of Jakarta, Indonesia also suffer from an excess of trash dumping.

About this video

Known for its susceptibility to quick and severe flooding, the rivers of Jakarta, Indonesia also suffer from an excess of trash dumping. This trash dumping, in turn, clogs flood canals and reservoirs causing even more devastating floods. Michigan engineering graduate student Frank Sedlar has developed a system combining time lapse cameras and computer vision algorithms similar to the ones used by cell phone cameras to detect faces in order to better understand how the complex urban environment clashes with its powerful natural forces.

About the expert

Frank Sedlar is a masters student in civil engineer studying the convergence of the world’s urban population with the effects of climate change, particularly flooding, in megacities around the world. Specifically his work focuses on building the tools necessary to understand both the technical and societal responses of these complex urban systems. These instruments include developing camera systems to track garbage in flood canals , designing and prototyping emergency flood shelters and using drones to map informal, flood prone settlements. He has presented this research internationally through invited talks and gallery exhibits to audiences ranging from the urban poor in the slums of Jakarta to the World Bank. Frank is a recently named Fulbright Fellow to Indonesia where he will work with PetaJakarta.org and the DKI Jakarta government to coordinate an Urban Drone Research Program. Frank is a current Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and a soon to be masters graduate of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, both at the University of Michigan. Frank was recently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Indonesia.

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Metal rods that are part of the molecular epitaxy beam apparatus at Michigan Engineering. Photo by Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

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