From today’s NewScientistTech comes this piece by Tom Simonite.
A network of compact surveillance sensors could soon be monitoring the US power grid. Sensors attached to electricity pylons would spot problems like bad weather or damage caused by terrorist attacks and automatically re-route around trouble spots.
Electricity companies already measure the load on power lines to spot problems and divert power around them. But the wireless sensor network under development at Iowa State University, US, will provide firms with much more detailed information, project leader Arun Somani told New Scientist
‘Every pole will have a small box attached, around the size of your cellphone,’ he says. ‘As well as having a small camera, it will also detect movement, temperature, humidity and monitor the power in the lines.’
The sensor boxes will connect to one another using wireless links, and will feed information on what is happening on the grid back to a central control station. They will run on batteries so they can keep relaying information if the power is cut, while future models may also have solar panels. The control system will then make decisions on how to reroute power around any problems detected.
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