It’s an obvious point, but I didn’t know until today that bridges contain structure sensors that burn through batteries, needing constant replacement. Luckily, a new solar-powered radio could simplify these systems greatly.
Developed by Kansas State University engineers, the working prototypes use humble calculator solar panels to power a NASA/KSU-developed “Mars Chip” radio transmitter. The transmitter sends data every five seconds, allowing constant updates of bridge stability in real time.
As of now, the team has to do more testing as to which frequencies are most reliable through various external interferences while keeping in mind other ways of powering the device (like thermal and mechanical energy). But it seems like a pretty simple way to upgrade our infrastructure for the all-around better.