Big Glass Microphone • Using Fiber Optic Cables as Sensors

It turns out that some existing infrastructure like fiber optic cables could act as a sensor already - no new tech needed. These cables can detect the unique vibrations created by people driving, biking, and walking. Normally these readings are filtered out as noise since the cables usually are used for transporting internet. When mapped, it’s easy to see larger moving waves of vibrations (cars), static pools of vibration (a large fountain on campus), and smaller waves (people and bikes). It could be used to monitor carpool lanes on freeways as well as the flow of traffic. The U.S. alone has an estimated 35 million miles of fiber optic cables crossing the country. That’s one big sensor.


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