Mapúa develops remote bridge-monitoring technology
(The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Mapúa University continues its commitment to the development of Philippine infrastructure through its recently concluded research, the Smart Bridge project.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and in coordination with the Bureau of Design of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the project developed a wireless sensory network system to monitor the structural health of bridges, in preparation for the anticipated 7.8-magnitude earthquake dubbed as the Big One. It is currently housed in Mapúa’s research building.

“We worked to develop, install and interpret data from weather- and theft-proof devices that authorities can use to remotely monitor the structural condition of bridges,” said Francis Aldrine Uy, dean and professor of the school of civil, environmental and geological engineering of Mapúa University. Uy is the project leader of the Smart Bridge project.

“This is a step in the right direction as the Philippines braces for the Big One. Through the Smart Bridge project, structural engineers and maintenance managers can more easily monitor the structural health of bridges,” he added.

To date, wireless sensor nodes have been installed at Padre Jacinto Zamora Bridge in Pandacan, Manila. While reports and documentation are being finalized, the Smart Bridge project will serve as the launchpad for other technological and research developments dedicated to the structural health of Philippine infrastructure.

“The Smart Bridge team made some significant strides in our research. We developed USHER, which stands for Universal Structural Health Evaluation and Recording System. The system aims to provide an advanced decision support tool to building officials of local government units and other stakeholders for structural health monitoring and management,” Uy said. 

Through its holding company House of Investments, a member of the Yuchengco Group of Companies, Mapúa University is considering a spin-off company that will commercialize the USHER system.

Mapúa has submitted two new projects as an expansion of the Smart Bridge project, this time focusing on buildings. The projects are under review by the DOST-PCIEERD.

The first project, the Philippine Structural Integrity Management System, will be implemented with the DPWH. The second project pairs Mapúa University with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology for the installation of sensors with an intensity-meter feature.

“It is a continuous endeavor for our team to further advance structural health monitoring in the Philippines in preparation for earthquakes and other disasters,” Uy said.

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