Bridges around the world are approaching the end of their life span, putting at risk human safety and economic growth.
What if we could use smartphones to build an early warning system for bridges at risk of failure?
We monitored 4 bridges in Italy — a country with more than 25,000 bridges — placing smartphones in cars. And now we are testing our approach using e-scooters.
Bridges are constantly vibrating in response to traffic, wind and other dynamic loads. Such vibrations are transmitted to crossing vehicles and contain valuable information about structural health. As our research demonstrates, smartphones placed inside these vehicles can capture traces of the bridge's structural dynamics.
Good Vibrations started in 2018 with an experimental campaign on the Golden Gate bridge and the Harvard bridge. The following year, we started collecting data with smartphones on four Italian bridges.
Our latest study shows that it is possible to estimate meaningful structural parameters on different types of bridges with incredible accuracy - with errors lower than 3%.
Combining two widespread elements — vehicles and smartphones — Good Vibrations envisions a global solution to a global problem!