A scientist Alexander Khamukhin from Tomsk Polytechnic University has patented a method to detect forest fires by sound. He suggested the use of sensors able to capture sound of the approaching fire at the distance of 3-5 km, and to give an idea about the type of fire and its area. Traditionally used fire sensors give a signal when fire is already raging in the immediate vicinity.
“It is now widely used a forest fires detection method, when a dangerous object, for example, a nuclear plant in France, is surrounded by sensors reacting to temperature. The wireless sensors transmit a signal of air temperature rising.
I decided to combine heat sensors and sound ones. Because fire is accompanied by various sounds. For example, during a ground fire crackling is heard and rapid fire spreads with a hum.
The sensors can fix sound in 3-5 km, that is, sound can be heard well before temperature gets started to raise. This gives more time to the emergency service to react,” - says Alexander Khamukhin, assistant professor of the Department of computer science and system engineering.
The polytechnicer developed special software that allows doing spectral analysis of fire sound. Even a fire area can be defined according to the intensity.
“Sensors can be very simple. It is needed a microphone and elements to transmit signal by GPS to a single control center.
To be effective, the distance between the sensors can be up to 5 km. They can surround a forest around important sites. For example, in the Tomsk region it is Seversk,”-
explains the researcher.
Now, the scientist expects to win a grant for further research that would help a more serious sound analysis. So, Alexander Khamukhin suggests that fire is accompanied by infrasound, imperceptible to the human ear.
“Initially, I just found records of fires in the web, cleaned sounds from unnecessary noise and analyzed - adds the polytechnicer. - If I get to work on special equipment that detects infrasound, we can talk about the creation of highly sensitive sensors. They will respond to infrasound in tens of kilometers to actual fire.”
Now the scientist is looking for partners for the further implementation of the project. Thus, the interest has been already expressed by DSK - a resident company at the Skolkovo Innovation Center that develops and implements information systems for forest monitoring.