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Purdue professor’s concrete sensor wins Edison Awards gold

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Dive Brief:

  • A Purdue University professor’s invention that measures concrete strength for highway traffic won gold at the Edison Awards in its Best New Products competition on April 18 in the Critical Human Infrastructure category, according to the award’s website.
  • The Wavelogix Rebel Concrete Strength Sensing System uses electronic sensors that are embedded into a fresh pour that can measure the material’s strength levels in real time and convey when highway pavement is strong enough for traffic, according to the university. 
  • The product, developed by civil engineering professor Luna Lu, who founded Wavelogix in 2021, went to market in December 2023. Prior to that, the Indiana Department of Transportation, along with Purdue and Wavelogix, installed the devices into the future I-465 interchange to I-69 south on Indianapolis’ south side, the university announced in July 2023. 

Dive Insight:

With the Rebel system, engineers would no longer have to test large samples of concrete at a lab or onsite facility to estimate its cured strength after it’s been poured and left to mature, per the release. 

Instead, the sensors would be plugged into a handheld device that logs concrete strength data, which would allow it to directly monitor fresh concrete and accurately measure many of its properties simultaneously.

More than half of U.S. states with concrete interstate pavement are currently participating in a Federal Highway Administration study to implement the sensor system, per the release. These include:

  • California.
  • Colorado.
  • Indiana.
  • Kansas.
  • Missouri.
  • North Dakota.
  • Tennessee.
  • Texas.
  • Utah.

Along with roadways, these sensors are also being tested and developed for use in bridges, airport runways and buildings.

“The opportunities for this research and the impact it offers in the future are immeasurable,” Lu told Construction Dive in an email.

Started in 1987, the Edison Awards celebrate innovative products, designs and services created by individuals and companies. Its Best New Products awards honor excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design, and innovation, per its website. 

Other construction-related inventions also won gold at the Edison Awards. The Leica BLK2FLY, an autonomous flying laser scanning sensor that snatches reality capture data in the air, led the aerospace technologies category. For unmanned aerial vehicle technologies, Cleo Robotics’ Dronut, a tiny drone that can fit in the palm of a human hand and fly indoors in tight spaces, took the top prize. BZI’s Wallmaster, which streamlines the installation of wall panels, won bronze in the construction technology category.

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