A system that allows the exterior of aircraft to "feel" damage or injury in a way similar to human skin is being developed by a British defense contractor.
According to BAE Systems, the technology, which works by covering the entire body of a plane with tens of thousands of micro-sensors, is able to detect problems before they occur and the devices could also be able to measure wind speed, temperature, strain and movement, the BBC reported.
AdvertisementSenior research scientist Lydia Hyde, who came up with the technology, says the idea came to her while watching her tumble dryer, which uses a sensor to prevent overheating and that observing how a simple sensor can be used to stop a domestic appliance overheating got her thinking about how this could be applied to her work to replace bulky, expensive sensors with cheap, miniature, multi-functional ones.
The sensors, which might be as small as dust particles and have their own power source, could even be sprayed on to an aircraft like paint and the technology could help equipment and technology to 'report back' on local environmental conditions and alert users to when repairs are needed ahead of schedule if hairline cracks are detected early or could even enable water pipes to 'switch on' heating elements automatically during a particularly cold winter that would prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
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