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Portsmouth researcher to showcase new earthquake sensors at London festival

A Portsmouth PhD researcher will showcase new earthquake sensors at a London festival which help detect damage to buildings and bridges at a fraction of the cost. 

The low cost sensors can quickly and accurately detect micro vibrations within a structure during and after an earthquake.

Timothy John Lee-Lewis, from the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, will showcase this example of next-generation of Internet of Things (IoT) smart technology alongside researchers from Imperial College London, at the Great Exhibition Road Festival in London this weekend (29 and 30 June). The event is a three-day celebration of curiosity, discovery and exploration, attended by 19 cultural institutions, and will cover art, science and technology. 

Timothy’s exhibit will graphically show the differences in reactions between 2 scaled model bridges (post tensioned and simply supported) as a moving load is passed over them. The monitoring package developed by Portsmouth researchers will then record micro vibration data in real time, transmitting wirelessly to connected tablets.

Timothy said: “These newer generation low cost sensors are important as developing countries will be able to monitor ageing infrastructure and protect communities using real time data. 

“Instead of relying on laboratory environments, which are inherently flawed due to scaling laws, these sensors will provide real data instantly to engineers and scientists, allowing them to gather vital information that can be used to interpret the behaviour of almost any type of structure during earthquakes or normal service use. 

“I want to inspire future engineers by showing that solving real world problems is affordable and within reach for everyone.”

This technology is now being used at the University and has enabled researchers to identify new ways of enhancing sensors for further lower cost advancements in the future.

See it for yourself

If you want to see the technology in use, register for the free exhibition organised by Imperial College London. You can find the exhibit in the curiosity zone called ‘Seismic Squad’ operating at stands CZ3 in the Prince’s Gardens main marquee (CZ-1).

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