A tiny electronic device which could prevent rail disasters will be showcased today – by scientists who created it less than a mile from where the railway revolution began.

Microlog, a highly advanced miniature data logger, weighs less than ten grammes and boasts a four megabyte memory, a powerful 16 byte microprocessor and satellite and mobile phone technology packed into one third of the size of a matchbox.

It has been developed by a father and son team at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne’s Stephenson Centre, a new venture inspired by the 19th Century entrepreneur, Robert Stephenson, who built the Rocket locomotive in a nearby Newcastle factory with his father, George.

Tests on the device are due to start shortly on the GNER east coast main line, a route which Stephenson was involved in developing almost two centuries ago.

Microlog is able to detect suspect areas on rail tracks where problems could lead to train disasters, and can use its technology to send a rapid warning signal to operators.

It works by being installed on…

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