If these walls could talk… actually, they can. A new project that goes by the acronym GENESI (Green sEnsor Networks for Structural monItoring) is working to give infrastructure the ability to tell us how it feels.
GENESI researchers are creating various sensor that fit inside buildings, tunnels, and bridges. This novel generation of green wireless sensor networks’ main aim is to allow structures to communicate their status.
The sensor device itself combines a low power node platform with a multi-source energy harvester, a small factor fuel cell, and an energy efficient radio. Each sensor has the ability to monitor vibrating strain, displacement, temperature, and soil moisture.
Because battery replacement among devices such as this is difficult, one of GENESI’s main goals is to make the sensors as self-sustaining as possible. With this, the sensors have various energy harvesting and storing abilities, such as their minute wind turbines that can harvest energy from passing trains.
The sensors allow for the collecting of infrastructure feedback with ease, so that engineers can see exactly how buildings and bridges are holding up.[Sources: Popular Science & GENESI]
ECS scientists are also looking to sensors to increase infrastructure security. Make sure to check out this paper on corrosion sensors.
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