According to an academic source from the National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology (NKFUST), an award winning optical fiber vibration sensor, has been used effectively in monitoring and signaling alerts of landslides. This sensor won a silver medal at the Taipei International Invention Show, in September 2010.
According to Tsair-Chun Liang, Project Guide, and College of Electrical Engineering and Science’s Dean this sensor was developed by a research team from NKFUST in the year 2008 and was able to recognize and detect rockslides and landslides. In 2009, the sensors were deployed in a river watershed in Shenmu Village of the Central Nantou County, an area prone to landslides especially during the heavy rains. He further stated that this sensor was as competent as the other imported sensors available, at a fraction of their cost. They were also more dependable as their cameras did not fail during flash floods, as compared to the other conventional monitoring systems.
The sensors in the device arrest the vibrations in the ground and between the rocks and then transmit the vibration amplitude and frequency to a monitoring unit or station via the optical fiber system. The station then gives out warnings to the people residing in the areas which are in the danger zone, and allows them to move from their homes to safer ground. This device has a dimension of 6 cm X 3.5 cm X 4.5 cm, and is encased in a stainless steel container. It could also be used for monitoring earthquakes. The University is trying to patent this device.