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Early New Warnings Technology Could Save Lives


King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is located in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia and is a private research university. In 2003, KAUST was reported to be one of the fastest growing research and citation records in the world. Their mind is set upon people’s safety and that is the reason why the team is using 3D printing functionality to develop a low-cost, dependable system to signal danger. Early warnings in a critique hazard incident, such as forest fire or chemical leak, is the only way to save people’s lives.

Relying on satellite monitoring, watch towers or expensive fixed sensors, this is how existing early warning systems get their job done. On the other hand, a team led by Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Atif Shamim developed a system that functions by saturating high-risk areas with expendable packages of sensors that are linked wirelessly to fewer secured nodes that raise the alarm.

Shamim says they chose 3D- and inkjet-printing, the "next revolution in industrial manufacturing," because they are additive processes, making them quick, cheap and environmentally friendly.

"Material is deposited in precise quantities only at the desired location," he explained. "Traditional manufacturing methods take bulk material and gradually remove material to realize the final shape, resulting in significant wastage."

Ph.D. student Muhammad Farooqui created the node and tested it in loth lab and field. The results were positive after being dropped from a height and temperatures up to 70°C. Shamim believes this is good enough to send an early warning in cases of wild fires.

In the future, the team will develop a single machine, which will exceptionally lower manufacturing time, but for the moment the nodes are created using an incorporation of 3D and inkjet printing because no 3D printer can precisely deposit all the data into the complex design.

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