HotSpot Episode 59: Wireless Sensors Track Bridge Deterioration

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:15pm
Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development

This week on WDD’s HotSpot:

  • Texas Instruments has introduced a third party ecosystem of IoT cloud service providers that will allow manufacturers to connect with the IoT more easily and rapidly. Manufacturers need proven hardware, software and an easy way to connect to the cloud, manage services, and capitalize on the growing IoT market. The first members of the ecosystem include 2lemetry, ARM, Arrayent, Exosite, IBM, LogMeIn, Spark, and Thingsquare.
  • The North American road and rail bridge infrastructure is deteriorating, putting great demand on civil engineers to keep up with required inspections. Metrom Rail’s Safe Structure Systems uses a sensor package that includes Alliance Sensors Group’s LV-45 inductive linear position sensors, which are being installed to aid DOT engineers with their mandated road and rail bridge inspections. The Safe Structure System and LV-45 sensors were chosen because they can operate year round in the extreme environments found around bridges. The system performs trend analysis by continuously monitoring the position of a bridge's structural elements in relation to piers and rockers by connecting LV-45 linear sensors with rod eye ends to selected elements. Data obtained for shifting element position is transmitted wirelessly, or wired from each pier-based system back to a master controller and data logger. This data allows engineers to watch a bridge over time so they can develop preventive maintenance and on-site inspection schedules. Bridges showing possible problems can be addressed expeditiously, while bridges that show little or no degradation can have their on-site inspections postponed.
  • A team of KAIST researchers have developed a glass fabric-based thermoelectric (TE) generator that is light, flexible, and produces electricity from the heat of the human body. According to KAIST, supplying power in a stable and reliable manner is one of the most critical issues to commercialize wearable devices. Liquid-like pastes of n-type (Bi2Te3) and p-type (Sb2Te3) TE materials were synthesized and printed onto a glass fabric using a screen printing technique. The pastes permeated through the meshes of the fabric and formed films of TE materials in a range of thickness of several hundreds of microns. As a result, hundreds of TE material dots were printed and well arranged on a specific area of the glass fabric.
  • Nowadays, many products connect with web services; such as media players, refrigerators – heck, even our toilets are connected. This distributed computing is becoming the norm in embedded systems. Smarcos (or The Smart Composite Human-Computer Interfaces) allows devices and services to communicate in UI level terms and symbols, exchange context information, user actions, and semantic data. It also allows applications to follow the user's actions, predict needs, and react appropriately to unexpected actions. Smarcos project aims to help users of interconnected embedded systems by ensuring their interusability. The use cases will be constructed around three complementary domains: attentive personal systems, interusable devices and complex systems control. Several pilots would be carried out to implement the use cases.

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