Capsule network-based semantic segmentation model for thermal anomaly identification on building envelopes

Chenbin Pan, Jiyang Wang, Weiheng Chai, Burak Kakillioglu, Yasser El Masri, Eleanna Panagoulia, Norhan Bayomi, Kaiwen Chen, John E. Fernandez, Tarek Rakha, Senem Velipasalar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Thermography technology is widely used to inspect thermal anomalies in building façade systems. Computer vision-based techniques provide opportunities to autonomously detect such heat anomalies to significantly improve the efficiency of decision-making for building envelope retrofitting and maintenance. In this work, we propose a novel Capsule Network-based deep learning model – CapsLab – that detects and identifies thermal anomalies by semantic segmentation. CapsLab is built based on our proposed prediction-tuning capsule (PT-Capsule) layer. Different from a traditional capsule layer, which consists of part-whole transformation and capsule-routing process, the proposed layer is composed of a prediction and tuning process, which helps decreasing the number of model parameters significantly. While the applicability of traditional Capsule Networks (CapsNets) has been limited to simpler tasks and smaller datasets due to their scalability issue, we can leverage the lightweight of the proposed PT-Capsule layer, and apply it to the semantic segmentation task. In this work, we also employ our previously presented performance metric, referred to as the Anomaly Identification Metric (AIM) (Kakillioglua et al. 2021), to evaluate the segmentation outputs. Traditional performance metrics do not accurately reflect the true performance of the segmentation models in thermal anomaly identification due to the high subjectivity in the annotation process and higher overlap ratio sensitivity of the standard metrics. AIM, on the other hand, is robust to these drawbacks. Experimental results show, both qualitatively and quantitatively, that our proposed segmentation method can effectively segment the thermal anomalies. Specifically, our model provides 9.38% and 13.53% improvements over the baseline model – DeepLabV3+ – based on traditional mIoU score and the AIM score, respectively, while requiring less model parameters and less computation at the same time. In addition, the scores that the AIM metric generates better align with the scores provided by building performance experts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101767
JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Building inspection
  • Metric
  • Segmentation
  • Thermal anomaly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Information Systems


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