Scientists have created self-powered sensors, that could wirelessly transmit data on the status of aircraft parts upon which they were mounted (Photo: TU Vienna)
Because structural integrity is so crucial to the safe operation of aircraft, their bodies are regularly inspected for signs of faults such as stress fractures. Some of these fractures can be virtually invisible to the human eye, so scientists are looking into the use of permanently-installed sensors, that would continuously provide information on the state of various parts of the aircraft. Given that one commercial airliner could potentially utilize hundreds of these sensors, however, running wiring to all of them could get quite complex. Using battery-operated sensors is one option, although ground crews would be constantly checking and changing batteries, plus it would be wasteful. Researchers from EADS Germany and the Vienna Institute of Technology now think they might have a better alternative – self-powered sensors that wirelessly transmit data.