February 27, 2006

Inspiration for the day

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K.R.Rajesh, Scientist, CDAC, Thiruvananthapuram

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20 seconds advance warning about an earthquake originating 200 km away could be a lot useful for shutting down vulnerable facilities like atomic power plants or oil refineries.  A low cost device capable of doing this has been developed by a team from Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) at Thiruvananthapuram headed by scientist K.R.Rajesh.  He won a Young Scientist Best Paper award in Engineering and Technology at the 18th Kerala Science Congress held in January.

He has already applied for a patent on the device which has been christened seismic fence.  It uses state-of-the-art sensors and high speed digital signal processor to identify the precursor waves that precede the destructive surface waves.

The ground vibrations are acquired using a sensitive accelerometer.  The system activates an alarm when the signal crosses a pre-set threshold.  The Richter magnitude and epicenter of the incoming earthquake can also be calculated.

Developed at a cost of $100, the seismic fence was extensively tested with simulated signals at the vibration test facility of Electronic Regional Test Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram.  It was also exposed to noisy environments like rail and road traffic and quarries to rule out false alarms.

According to Rajesh, the system can be upgraded with more sophisticated components like geophones.


Courtesy: T.Nandakumar, The Hindu, February 10, 2006
Contributed by: Administrator 



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