Thanks to a system developed through the cooperation of Middle East Technical University's (METU) Department of Civil Engineering and a company offering services at METU Technopolis, citizens will soon be informed via text message if their buildings are damaged during an earthquake within a few minutes of the event.
Professor Ahmet Türer, an academic from the METU's Department of Civil Engineering, spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) about their project "Simultaneous System of Disaster Monitoring and Evaluation for Structures."
Türer explained that thanks to the new system, potential earthquake damage can be detected immediately based on the structures' previous evaluations and strategically placed wireless sensors. "If no structural damage is detected, the residents will receive a text saying, ‘Structure condition: Green level,' within three to five minutes after the quake. Likewise, they would also be informed about any permanent damage to the structure," he said.
If the sensors discover damage to the structure, the message will say, "Structure condition: Red level," and the residents will be directed to the nearest exit to evacuate the building. The text will also include advice and recommendations about experts to assist in the building's restoration.
While discussing the details of the system, Türer added: "In the case of an earthquake, all of the sensors communicate and measure simultaneously, which continues throughout the quake. They move on to evaluations 15-30 seconds after the earthquake stops and then start to analyze the accumulated data. During this phase, they check the transitive motions and acceleration values. This automatic analysis informs both the METU and the owners of the structures. We haven't tried the system on a real residence building, yet. So far, the system has only been tested on model structures. We have also experienced the same results during trials with cable-laid systems, but it takes too much time and requires more money to maintain the cables. This one is more practical and can be set up as easily as changing a light bulb."
Türker also stressed that the sensors could be installed on any structure, whether it is made of brick or reinforced concrete, and added: "There are similar systems around the world. However, its first wireless format was developed in Turkey, making the system applicable to all kinds of structures."
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