Using Technology to Share Information With Actual Value
What’s the use of technology advancing at lightning speed if we only use it to develop new digital image filters for our pictures of dinner so we can share them with more people who don’t care in the first place? Sharing information that adds value to the actual world should be the real goal, and that can be plenty exciting.
One new, public site that will never net a big-fat IPO or a $1-billion takeover bid is one that is likely to have a very positive impact anyway, by advancing the application of technology to test our infrastructure through the sharing a major research database.
The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) launched a website on May 28 called NDtoolbox.org that is a public collection of research gathered during the Transportation Research Board’s SHRP2 initiative. The very cleanly designed site showcases a series of infrastructure systems tests using Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques to analyze the condition and quality of infrastructure facilities. It aggregates the results of seven construction research projects where both commercial and prototypical NDT technologies were used for condition assessment and construction quality control of bridges, tunnels and pavements.
Unlike invasive approaches like coring and drilling, NDT is testing that will not compromise the integrity of a structure. The well-organized online toolbox displays examples and describes modern NDT techniques alongside less accurate, age-old methods like hammer sounding and chain drag.
The bridge testing section of the website presents detailed descriptions and photos of nondestructive testing for bridges, such as ground penetrating radar, impact echoing and impulse response.
In the pavement section the site describes methods of measuring deflection, such as rolling wheel and traffic speed deflectometer methods. It describes the differences between these techniques and why one might be preferred over the other in a given circumstance. The site also explains different types of pavement deterioration. The site’s tunneling section describes various technologies, such as the ultrasonic echo technique, and deterioration problems like tile debonding and moisture intrusion.
As the website points out, the site is not a comprehensive collection of all NDT technologies in existence and development, but it is a great start. We should all take a cue from SHRP and make a point of using technology to share valuable information that is actually useful and advances society.
SHRP didn’t use any vintage filters to jazz-up the photos on its website, but if you checkout NDtoolbox.org you might find they, and everything else about it, are rewarding all the same.