Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Monitor at Every Power Pole

An Iowa State University research team led by Arun Somani, chair and Jerry R. Junkins professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working to develop a network of wireless sensors that could monitor the country's electricity transmission system. While the sensors could pick up suspicious activity at power poles, they'd be especially useful at quickly locating any breakdowns.

America has a lot of transmission lines, substations and generators that could use some monitoring. The Department of Energy reported the country had 157,810 miles of transmission lines in 2004.

The monitoring system depends on sensors housed in black boxes just a few inches across. Somani recently picked up one of the sensors inside Iowa State's Wireless and Sensor Networking Laboratory and showed off the electronics capable of watching out for conductor failures, tower collapses, hot spots and other extreme conditions. A tiny camera can also be mounted in the sensor to look for suspicious movements around power lines.

This might leave the ordinary person with the choice of having a monitor camera outside their window or having no electricity.
Just hope that your activities do not look 'suspicious' to your power company monitors.

News Service: Iowa State University


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