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An old stone bridge

PI: Andrew Markham

Department: Computer Science

We take critical infrastructure for granted, e.g. rail and road bridges. However, as they age or in response to events such as fire or earthquakes, they can deteriorate, and in some cases catastrophically fail, leading to loss of life. In the UK alone, Network Rail manages over 28,000 bridges, a large number of which were erected during the Victorian era and are not widely monitored, as existing systems are costly, inflexible, and difficult to install. Prof Markham’s group has invented a novel sensor, based on magneto-inductive technology, which can measure displacement and orientation changes in 3-D without requiring any physical contact between the components to be monitored. The core algorithms and innovation have been tested in the laboratory, but the next stage of development is developing a rugged and weather-resistant proof-of-principle sensor that can be mounted on critical infrastructure to collect data and transfer condition information over long-range ‘Internet of Things’ links.

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