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UM researcher develops wireless bridge monitor

COLLEGE PARK — A University of Maryland researcher says he has developed a wireless bridge monitoring system to test for problems like those that brought down a Minneapolis bridge four years ago.

University of Maryland electrical engineering researcher Mehdi Kalantari says because the system uses wireless devices it is cheaper to install and maintain. The devices monitor a variety of characteristics including vibration, flexibility, and crack development.

The sensors are also expected to last more than a decade and are powered by light and radio waves. Kalantari says an average highway bridge would need about 500 sensors costing about $10,000. The researcher says he has been testing the devices with the state Department of Transportation for the past year.