A team of researchers from the US university applied fiber optic technology to demonstrate the changes in city traffic because of the lockdown. Scientists had tapped into an underground telecommunication fiber optic cable and made a scientific monitoring device. Thanks to this fiber optic system, they could watch how Covid-19 brought life to a halt.
According to researchers, they shined a laser through the fiber optics and could locate vibrations from cars and pedestrians above. The fiber optic cable could detect the movement through the unique seismic signals from them. That allowed scientists to create a detailed picture of how a community ground to a halt, and then slowly came back to life when the lockdown eased.
This experiment with the fiber optic cable showed that the pedestrian traffic almost disappeared in April and stayed almost the same in June. However, the car traffic started increasing after initially declining. As a result, the vehicle traffic is actually back to normal, while people walking is still minimal. Moreover, scientists could distinguish the vibration signals from fiber optic cable from construction vehicles. In April there was no industrial activity as the construction halted. But in June the construction vehicles’ movement had started again.
Fiber optic cables trap light pulses and transport them to vast distances as signals. And when a car or person passes, the vibrations introduce a disturbance, and a scattering light returns. The researchers measured vibrations at different lengths of the fiber optic cable by estimating the time it took the back-scattered light to travel. This method is well-known as distributed acoustic sensing (DAS).
Distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) can become an instrument for tracking people’s movement instead of cell phone location data studying. Researchers can apply fiber optic cables to monitor pedestrians and cars. However, DAS can’t help in identifying a particular car or person. It can only identify a type of vehicle, for example, truck or bike.
In comparison with usual seismometers, such fiber optic cable is cost-effective and doesn’t need a source of power. There is a need for just an FBG interrogator that gets the information.
Engineers have already produced DAS systems to detect soil deformation, biologists use offshore fiber optic cables to listen in on whales, and scientists made measurements of earthquakes and water temperature in the Arctic with the help of FBG sensors. Every day fiber optic technology gets a new application.
Optromix is a DAS system manufacturer that provides top-of-the-line distributed acoustic sensing systems suitable for monitoring commerce networks. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DAS system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org