A U-Net Based Approach for Automating Tribological Experiments
Tribological experiments (i.e., characterizing the friction and wear behavior of materials) are crucial for determining their potential areas of application. Automating such tests could hence help speed up the development of novel materials and coatings. Here, we utilize convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to automate a common experimental setup whereby an endoscopic camera was used to measure the contact area between a rubber sample and a spherical counterpart. Instead of manually determining the contact area, our approach utilizes a U-Net-like CNN architecture to automate this task, creating a much more efficient and versatile experimental setup. Using a 5× random permutation cross validation as well as additional sanity checks, we show that we approached human-level performance. To ensure a flexible and mobile setup, we implemented the method on an NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier development kit where we achieved ~18 frames per second by employing mixed-precision training.
BIBA-Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbH, University of Bremen, University of Bremen, Faculty of Production Engineering