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TRL research director Rod Kimber says falling sensor prices, improved communication systems, and increased demand for non-destructive testing mean the time is right to accelerate research into self-monitoring infrastructure.

These intelligent structures use embedded sensors to monitor internal strain, fatigue, temperature cycles, humidity and then relay the information to automatic monitoring stations.

'I would spend the money on developing the sensors,' he says. 'When to use acoustic or optical sensors or salt ingress probes or whatever, how many to use, and where to put them.'

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