Optical sensor tech evaluates earthquake building damage: Page 2 of 2

July 15, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Optical sensor tech evaluates earthquake building damage
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) say they have developed a new optical sensor that could speed up the time it takes to evaluate whether buildings are safe to occupy shortly after a major earthquake.
detector. Making use of a geometric array of small, inexpensive light-sensitive photodiodes, the sensor is able to instantly track the position of an impinging laser beam.

"Previous generations of DDPS were quite a bit larger than the system we are now able to deploy," says McCallen. "Based on design advancements and lessons learned, the sensor is a quarter of the size of our original sensor design, but features 92 diodes staggered in a rectangular array so that the laser beam is always on one or more diodes."

So far, he says, DDPS has held up to three rounds of rigorous experimental shake table testing.

"The rigorous testing the DDPS has undergone indicates how the drift displacements measured on the three testbeds compared to representative drifts that could be achieved on an actual full-scale building undergoing strong shaking from an earthquake," says McCallen.

The Discrete Diode Position Sensor (DDPS) will be deployed for the first time this summer in a multi-story building at Berkeley Lab – which sits adjacent to the Hayward Fault, considered one of the most dangerous faults in the United States.

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