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Warding off failure

People working under a bridge

Self-powered sensors developed by Chakrabartty and his collaborators may be attached to or embedded inside bridges, pavements, vehicles, rotating parts and biomedical implants. They can autonomously sense, compute and store cumulative statistics of strain rates, without the aid of batteries.

Credit: Shantanu Chakrabartty, Michigan State University


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A micro chip

A network of micro-sized sensors can self-diagnose any catastrophic failure, according to Chakrabartty. Once fully packaged, he hopes the sensor will become an integral part of any smart structure, whether it is civil, mechanical or biomechanical.

Credit: Shantanu Chakrabartty, Michigan State University


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Two people examine a football helmet equipped with sensors

Data from the sensors can be remotely retrieved with a smartphone and used to predict the onset of mechanical failure. Users may be alerted to potential problems, minimizing the risk of bodily harm and significantly reducing maintenance costs. One of the new sensor applications is smart sports helmets that diagnose concussions.

Credit: Shantanu Chakrabartty, Michigan State University


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Two people in a lab looking at circuits

The self-powered sensor research has spawned two U.S. and international patents with several other patents currently pending. The technology is being marketed by the MSU Technologies Office and has led to the formation of Piezonix, a startup company based in Michigan.

Credit: Shantanu Chakrabartty, Michigan State University


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