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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of July 14, 2000

Cynthia Graber reports on a new way of checking the stability of telephone poles.

Transcript

GRABER: Most folks call them telephone poles, but the nearly 20 million wooden pilings that dot the nation's roads bring more than Ma Bell into your home. They also carry cable TV, high-speed Internet access, and electric power. It can be a pretty heavy load, and making sure the poles aren't rotting takes a lot of time and money. So researchers in Georgia have combined two technologies and came up with a new testing method. First, they hover over a pole in a helicopter and point a laser at the pole. Light measures how much the pole is vibrating in response to sound waves coming from the helicopter's engine. Then they plug the data into a computer, which compares the vibration pattern to that of a healthy pole. Poles that register unhealthy can be visually checked for rotting and replaced or supported if they're about to fall down. That's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.

 

 

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