KTVU recently broadcast a “SPECIAL REPORT: New High-Tech Sensors May Predict Bridge Fatigue,” which provides an update to ongoing research at U-M to ensure the safety of America’s bridges and infrastructure. The technology is expected to provide a warning when portions of a bridge begin to experience dangerous levels of stress.
As stated in the news report, “the immediate goal is to deploy cheap, wireless sensors on every major U.S. bridge. These sensors can make complex measurements without hundreds of yards of cable. Some are even powered by vibration.”
“It’s a very low-cost prototype costing about a $100 per sensing node. You can see it has an antenna for its wireless sensing capabilities,” said Jerry Lynch, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of EECS.
An Interdisciplinary Approach that Serves an Interconnected World
This $19-million project is an exciting and instructive example of how EECS is making significant impact on large-scale technical and societal challenges through interdisciplinary research and development. The smart bridge project brings together 14 researchers from within the College of Engineering and the U-M Transportation Research Institute. In addition, engineers at five private firms in New York, California, and Michigan are key team members.
The project is funded by nearly $9 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP). The remaining funding comes from cost-sharing among the entities involved and the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT has offered unfettered access to state bridges to serve as high-visibility test-beds showcasing the project technology.