Fiber optic sensors make cities “smarter”

FBG sensors for smart citiesCompanies from the U.S. and Japan have developed for the first time a new fiber optic sensing technology that allows delivering traffic-related data to smart cities without tearing up streets. To be more precise, in smart cities connected intersections and traffic fiber optic sensors play a crucial role in the whole infrastructure. 

Thus, the combination of intersections with fiber sensors may greatly affect improving traffic flows resulting in congestion and pollution reduction, finally, improving life quality, resident safety, and raising economic activity and productivity. Additionally, these fiber optic sensors may promote pedestrian safety and save lives in different cities.

It should be noted that data information on traffic patterns and road congestions required to make the best application of such fiber sensing systems. Fiber optic technology makes it possible to get the data without physical inspections, putting in new infrastructure, or tearing up streets.

The concept has been already tested and demonstrated the opportunity to apply network infrastructure with existing fiber optic cables already installed in the ground as distributed optical sensors to compile data on city traffic patterns, road conditions, road capacity, and vehicle classification information.

Nowadays it is planned to enlarge tests of the fiber optic sensing technology and to decide how it can be employed in smart cities. The main purpose of technology is regarded as to enable “existing optical fiber providers to deliver smart city traffic-related data without tearing up roads or sidewalks”

The manufacturers apply new fiber optic technology and combine fiber sensors with artificial intelligence-based software to provide “intelligent traffic monitoring including the sensing of vehicle density, direction, speed, acceleration, deceleration and more”. The thing is that until recently it was required to install purpose-built optical fiber in very shallow spaces in the ground with fiber Bragg grating at predetermined intervals to collect and analyze this type of data information.

Today the proposed fiber optic solution suggests utilizing optical fibers already in the ground. The representatives of the companies confirm that these fiber optic sensors may lead or improve various public functions, for example, they allow first responders to identify and respond to gunshots as well as increasing municipalities’ capability to more quickly and efficiently detect earlier deterioration of bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure.

Application of a single FBG interrogator in the distributed multi-parameter fiber optic sensor system estimated different characteristics of back-scattering light, which can be utilized to determine the static strain, dynamic strain, acoustics, vibrations, and temperatures for each optical fiber segment.

Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for the clients. Optromix produces a wide range of fiber optic devices, including cutting-edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems. Moreover, Optromix is a top choice among the manufacturers of fiber Bragg grating monitoring systems. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Embedded fbg strain sensors for robotic applications

FBG strain sensors for robotsFiber optic technology continues to find new applications in various fields including medicine, biomechanics, space, oil industry, geophysics, etc. According to researchers from the U.S., fiber optic sensors are regarded as uniquely suited for utilizing in robotic hands. To be more precise, the researchers have developed a three-fingered soft robotic hand with multiple embedded fbg strain sensors resulting in emerging of a new type of stretchable fiber sensor.

The application of fiber optics allows installing 14 fbg strain sensors into each of the fingers in the robotic hand, therefore, it can “determine where its fingertips are in contact and to detect forces of less than a tenth of a newton”. Moreover, the researchers confirm that the new stretchable optical sensing material could find highly promising application in a soft robotic skin to offer even more feedback in the future.

Modern robotic hands include more strain sensors than is typical today, thus, they can operate autonomously and react safely to unexpected forces in everyday environments. It should be noted that human skin consists of thousands of tactile sensory units only at the fingertip, while a spider has about hundreds of mechanoreceptors on each leg, however, nowadays conventional humanoid includes only 42 fiber sensors in its hand and wrist.

Herewith, it is difficult to add traditional force or pressure sensors because of complex wiring, it is prone to breaking and susceptible to interference from different electromagnetic tools. Nevertheless, it is possible to embed several fbg strain sensors in a single optical fiber. The operating principle of such a robotic hand is based on several fiber sensors in each of the fingers that are connected with 4 optical fibers, through a single fiber can be used for this purpose.

Additionally, the embedded fbg strain sensors offer such an advantage as the immunity to electromagnetic interference. Other benefits of FBG sensors include:

  • Fiber sensors are passive and can be used in explosive environments.
  • Non-conductivity of fibers.
  • Opportunity to install more than 80 fiber sensors per optical fiber
  • The fast response of FBG sensing systems.
  • Fbg strain sensors do not corrode and have a small diameter.

Robots used in the industry provide extremely accurate manipulation with only limited fiber sensors, herein, they operate in controlled environmental conditions where people do not risk to do it. Nevertheless, the development of soft robots, which will interact routinely and safely with people, require careful attention to tactile and force sensing. That is why fbg strain sensors are considered to be a perfect fiber optic solution.

Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for the clients. Optromix produces a wide range of fiber optic devices, including cutting-edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems. Moreover, Optromix is a top choice among the manufacturers of fbg strain sensors. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Distributed temperature sensors of high precision for Raman-based sensing

DTS for Raman sensingA new distributed temperature sensor (DTS) system has been developed to perform optimization of the temperature precision with the enhanced temperature sensitivity of backscattered spontaneous Raman scattering. The DTS system is based on the difference in sensitive-temperature compensation. 

Distributed temperature sensors apply the dual-demodulation, self-demodulation, and double-end configuration principles. The DTS system has been already tested and demonstrates great results: the temperature precision is considered to be 12.54 °C, 8.53 °C, and 15.00 °C along the 10.8 km under the traditional R-DTS systems, respectively.

It is possible to use the sensing system with difference sensitive-temperature compensation for the dual-demodulation, self-demodulation, and double-end configuration R-DTS, herewith, this fiber optic sensing technology enables to make the temperature precision better than 1 °C for these three demodulation systems.

The operating principle of Raman Distributed Temperature Sensor is based on “specific optical effects along the sensing optical fiber to obtain a spatially distributed temperature profile”. Compared to traditional discrete sensing techniques, R-DTS systems provide unique attributes and capabilities.

It should be noted that spontaneous Raman scattering of distributed temperature sensors uses the energy exchange in the optical fiber, therefore, when the pulsed light quantum and fiber optic material molecule leads to an inelastic collision in optical fiber, this will create an anti-Stokes light.

The thing is that the anti-Stokes light is regarded to be very sensitive to the surrounding temperature, and it allows modulating the environmental temperature using the principle of Raman scattering. Nowadays, such DTS systems find their application in the temperature safety monitoring thanks to the benefits of distributed measurement, long-distance, and high spatial resolution, as well as in transport infrastructure, smart grid and gas pipeline, etc.

It is necessary to pay on the following parameters when you choose distributed temperature sensors with high-performance: temperature precision, temperature resolution, and spatial resolution. DTS systems can be used as an industrial temperature measurement system, for instance, the carrier density in the power cable can be measured by employing a specific temperature. Additionally, distributed temperature sensors allow locating the position of pipeline leakage.

Tests demonstrate that the temperature demodulation system based on distributed temperature sensing offers higher temperature precision and resolution of the self-demodulation than the dual-demodulation system due to the signal-to-noise ratio. Moreover, the double-ended configuration for DTS systems allows avoiding the measurement error based on the change of local external attenuation.

If you want to obtain a highly efficient distributed temperature sensing system, you should choose the Optromix company. Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) products line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) systems, distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems. If you are interested in DTS systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com