Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Smart Building

PostedFebruary 8, 2015

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Anchor Lead: Virginia Tech’s new engineering building is equipped with more than two-hundred vibration sensors, likely a record. They can reveal more than you might think.

Randy Atkins: Each of your footsteps create distinct vibrations that are detected by Virginia Tech’s sensor-laden Goodwin Hall says Mary Kasarda, a mechanical engineering professor there. The information might be used, for example, by first responders who can…

Mary Kasarda: …open up the ipad and see where people are, see the conditions of the building, what passages are safe what are not safe.

Randy Atkins: But Kasarda says the possibilities for using the data collected are almost endless…from detecting seismic activity to measuring snow on the roof. You might even be able to…

Mary Kasarda: …get some sense of the health of the occupants, is there some information in that vibration pattern that tells you there’s maybe a cold or flu coming.

Randy Atkins: Yes, with more research, Kasarda thinks even a subtle lack of pep in the step might be noticed…and that sensors will become increasingly common in both offices and homes. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.