Title: Sensors: Carrying The Weight Of The World

Word Count:
342

Summary:
Introduction

How useful is technology? Do we need to spend money on research and production of new products and services? How is technology serving humanity? A skeptic may comprise these questions as the width of televisions is decreasing and the prices are increasing, but the scope of technology reaches further than home entertainment. Technology is saving lives.

Sensor technology has been around for some time, but we are recently finding how diverse and incredible it …

Keywords:
sensors, technology, technological innovations, computers, sensor technology

Article Body:
Introduction

How useful is technology? Do we need to spend money on research and production of new products and services? How is technology serving humanity? A skeptic may comprise these questions as the width of televisions is decreasing and the prices are increasing, but the scope of technology reaches further than home entertainment. Technology is saving lives.

Sensor technology has been around for some time, but we are recently finding how diverse and incredible it can be.

Tragedy of engineering

On August 1, America experienced the tragedy of the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River collapse. This event is not entirely out of the ordinary. Bridges are susceptible to fatigue and collapse over a length of time. Bridges develop hair cracks, which are immediately harmless; yet, overtime, the cracks widen and compromise the solidarity of the construction.

Certain engineering of bridges is formed much like a chain. If one link of the chain is weakened or broken, the bridge is primed for disaster. When heavy vehicles such as trucks pass over cracks, they begin to widen and extend to other areas of the construction.

Engineers often inspect bridges over periods of time for cracks and other detriments to its support. Often, sections of bridges are repaired so they will not affect other areas.

A technological solution

Sensors are contributing to the inspection process. Sensors, imbedded into bridges as part of real-time monitoring systems, can warn engineers of a bridge?s failure.

A ?weigh-in-motion? system tracks speed and weight of passing traffic in order to assess the ability of the structure to sustain the weight.

These sensor systems are designed to stay embedded through the duration of the bridge?s life. Ohio has already started using the system in a number of their bridges.

It would make sense for these sensors to be situated in every bridge across America. Unfortunately, the system is very costly. One government official was quoted in saying, ?When you invest that much money into a piece of infrastructure, you want to have some measure of how it?s performing.?

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