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Driver smartphones could help predict (and prevent) bridge collapse

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Monitoring the structural integrity of heavily used and aging bridges is a complex task that often requires an array of expensive sensors, but new research suggests that smartphones could one day make this difficult task possible. Here’s how it works. Scientists show how an app can be used to detect subtle vibrations that signal a possible collapse of a bridge, helping to restore such a vital infrastructure. I sowed the seeds of a low-cost crowdsourced solution to maintain.

To track the health of bridges, engineers tune in to natural vibrations known as modal frequencies. This can change over time to reveal changes in structural integrity. This can be achieved by sensors such as accelerometers placed on the bridge. wireless sensor system We can provide a cheaper way autonomous drone You can streamline these types of operations.

The authors of the new study instead sought to take advantage of existing sensor systems found in everyday smartphones. The team created his Android-based app specifically to collect smartphone accelerometer data on modal frequencies from vehicles passing over the bridge. The idea was to put them to work and see how well the data matched that collected by a traditional set of bridge monitoring sensors.

This was tested on the Golden Gate Bridge, where the researchers drove over the bridge 102 times with the app running, and did the same with Uber drivers 72 times. We compared modal frequency data from a set of 240 conventional sensors installed for a period of months. The team found that the phone’s data closely mirrored the data collected by traditional sensors. This shows a close match with his 10 different low-frequency vibrations that the engineer examines in these instances. In five cases there was no difference at all.

“We were able to show that many of these frequencies corresponded very precisely to the main modal frequencies of the bridge,” said study author Paolo Santi, principal investigator in MIT’s Senseable City Lab. said Mr.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge, making up only 1% of all bridges in the United States. To extend these findings and see how this technology could be applied to smaller concrete span bridges, which account for about 41%, the team turned to this type of bridge in Ciampino, Italy. rice field.

In this part of the study, we drove the bridge 280 times with the smartphone app and compared it with data from six sensors attached to the bridge for seven months. The researcher found divergence in the data for specific mode frequencies of up to 2.3%, an improvement over his 5.5% observed divergence in the small data, so he was enthusiastic about that possibility. is. This suggests that further augmenting the data through more trips could further improve the accuracy of the technology.

“There is still work to be done, but we believe our approach can easily be scaled up to the national level,” said co-author Carlo Ratti. “It may not reach the accuracy that can be obtained using fixed sensors mounted on bridges, but it could be a very interesting early warning system. It may suggest.”

The team also examined how incorporating this kind of smartphone data into bridge maintenance plans would affect bridge longevity, finding that monitoring mobile devices could increase service life by 15-30%. Calculated.

“These results suggest that large, inexpensive datasets collected by smartphones could play an important role in monitoring the health of existing transport infrastructure,” said the authors. is writing

A study was published in a journal Communication engineering.

sauce: MIT

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