Women’s History Month: Engineer Erin Bell is designing ‘living’ bridges

Engineers at the University of New Hampshire are raising the bar on what 21st century infrastructure systems can do. With support from the National Science Foundation, they’re outfitting the Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Kittery, Maine, with sensors to monitor everything from structural stability to traffic to environmental health. It will even be powered by tidal energy, a renewable energy source. They call it a “living bridge,” and it exemplifies the future of smart, sustainable, user-centered transportation infrastructure. Ultimately, a suite of 40 sensors will create a self-diagnosing, self-reporting smart bridge that engages innovators in sensor and renewable technology by creating an incubator platform on a working bridge, from which researchers can field test and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of emerging technologies. The Living Bridge Project will also serve as a community platform to educate citizens about innovations at the site and about how incorporating renewable energy into bridge design can lead to a sustainable transportation infrastructure with impact far beyond the region. The project receives additional funding from the Federal Highway Administration and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 3:43

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