Southampton University’s Radio-Based Sensor Probes to Predict Landslides

Fist-sized sensor probes developed by Dr Kirk Martinez at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science and Geography Professor Jane Hart have been installed in Mexico’s Los Laureles Canyon, a region that is always under water caused by mud slides and heavy downpours. Dr Martinez was the first to make sensor-based probes in 2003 for monitoring movement of the glacier.

Six such sensors have been positioned upstream from the Tijuana estuary that is near San Diego’s Mexican border. They take a reading every hour to monitor factors like movement and temperature. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. provides funds to these two scientists to create sensors capable of monitoring rates of erosion during the storm season in California.

These sensors will be useful for the prediction of sudden landslides that are common in Asia and India, according to the research scientists. These landslides leave millions homeless and claim hundreds of lives, causing mass destruction. The sensors could also be used in the U.K. for predicting flooding.

Dr Martinez revealed that it was the first time radio-based sensors were positioned in slopes and added that the team will soon create a very small sensor probe version that is able to measure tilt, conductivity, and light. He also said that the main challenge is to make these sensor probes measure more and wake up whenever a storm is forecasted. He explained that the sensors are providing information related to the transformations occurring in the soil and the sediment for giving advanced warnings of landslides and storms to people residing in nearby areas.


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