Regular smartphones can help monitor the condition of bridges
Like everything else, large infrastructure structures, including bridges and high-rise buildings, age – and if they are not properly monitored, the consequences can be dire.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), together with the U.S. Military Academy, have published research on using data from smartphone accelerometers to monitor the integrity of bridges. This will allow the owners of gadgets to take part in identifying defects in structures, so that they can be eliminated in time.
The fact is that bridges and skyscrapers in response to vibration “respond” with vibrations of a certain inherent frequency. This effect can be compared with fingerprints. However, in order to monitor the technical condition of an object, a whole array of special expensive sensors is required, which, in turn, also require maintenance.
The team of researchers suggested resorting to the help of smartphone owners who drive over the bridge on a daily basis. It turns out that the accelerometers installed in the gadgets can record vibrations occurring in the structure and report this information to the emergency services, making the monitoring process much cheaper.
However, many smartphone users decided to refuse such voluntary services, because by participating in the project, they disclosed their location.
In order to avoid such mishaps, the authors of the project might be better off using government vehicles, such as police and postal vehicles, as well as vehicles of logistics companies.