Smart Screws That Can Detect When They're Loose Could Help Save America's Bridges

The added technology could dramatically reduce maintenance and repair costs.

Gizmodo By Andrew Liszewski May 2, 2022

Working to reduce the need for regular inspections of large structures, researchers from the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Internet Technologies CCIT have created a smart self-powered screw that leverages IoT tricks to automatically send out alerts when it detects that it’s become looser than it was on the day it was installed.

It doesn’t matter how much you tighten a screw at first installation, when it comes to structures like bridges, wind turbines, cranes, scaffolding, and even roller coasters, all of which are subject to subtle movements and repeated temperature fluctuations, there’s always the risk a screw will gradually loosen. As a result, regular inspections are needed to ensure screws and other components are not showing signs of wear, loosening, or becoming completely undone.

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