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This Study Shows How Data Collection From Smartphones Can Make Bridges Safer

Data collection is a tricky topic for most consumers with much of the sentiment surrounding it being rather negative. Consumers are often hesitant to share data because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up compromising their privacy, but there may be some situations where sharing one’s data could be warranted with all things having been considered and taken into account. A new study from MIT revealed that collecting specific data from smartphones could help bridges to last longer.

Accelerometer data from smartphones can be used to monitor the structural integrity of a bridge, and with all of that having been said and now out of the way it is important to note that this can help to make the bridges safer and last up to 30% longer than might have been the case otherwise. This can be done by detecting the vibrations in the bridge as an individual passes over it.

The data is currently collected through stationary sensors, but in spite of the fact that this is the case smartphone data can be a useful supplement that can be even more accurate. The researchers drover over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 102 times and also extracted data from 72 Uber rides that crossed the bridge. They found that the data they collected closely matched stationary sensor data across 10 metrics and matched it exactly in 5 other metrics.

Measuring the vibrational resonance of a bridge can help infrastructure experts to tell whether or not it has undergone significant wear and tear. That can be instrumental in preventing the collapse of the bridge which can cause widespread destruction as well as loss of human life.

It can help to supplement data collected by stationary sensors and help predict an impending collapse, and the study showed that the more data points they collected the more accurate the information turned out to be. Comparing the data from smaller bridges also showed that this assertion held true. This shows that data collection can also be done in the interests of public safety.


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