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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Internet photonic sensing: Using opportunistic internet measurements for vibration and Earth Motion Sensing

The ability to accurately measure deformations and vibrations in the earth (e.g., earthquakes and landslides) and physical infrastructure (e.g., buildings and roads) is essential for public safety, scientific and commercial applications, and security. This project will establish a new method for deformation and vibration sensing that will be called Internet Photonic Sensing (IPS). The team’s hypothesis is that natural and anthropogenic vibrations trigger detectable changes in the optical signals that transmit data through Internet fiber and that those changes can be detected in measurements available in deployed Internet hardware. The team’s vision is highly sensitive, low-cost, world-wide vibration monitoring capability based on opportunistic measurements from the Internet. This multidisciplinary research program will conduct laboratory experiments with state of-the-art optical transceivers to test how vibrations in fiber affect optical data signals, and deploy instrumented transceivers on the UW campus network to investigate how changes in optical data signals indicate vibrations in a live environment.



Paul Barford, professor of computer sciences



Dante Fratta, associate professor of geological engineering, civil and environmental engineering

Herb Wang, emeritus professor of geoscience