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Smart Skin for Aircraft to Detect Damage

The rate of technological growth is relatively high and I hope that you might be aware of the recent inventions like Smartphone, Smartwatch, Smartlens etc. Have you ever heard about “Smart skin”? No, isn’t it? We came across several plane crashes last year due damaged parts or technical problems. Recently, engineers at BAE systems have found a solution to tackle these problems in airplanes and it is nothing but “Smart Skin”. Let’s have a detailed look about this new technology feature through this post.

About Smart skin

Smart skin can be created by thousands of miniature, multi-functional sensor called Motes. The size of the mote sensors is smaller than a grain of rice and will have their own source to get power. These sensors would pair with software for communication purpose which has the potential to track the condition like airflow, heat or damage. Like human skin sends signals to the brain, Smart skin captures the sensory information and transmits it to the pilot to detect the damage (if any). Thus by embedding thousands of motes across the plane surface, it is more likely to have the sensory capability like normal skin.

Smart-Skin-Technology

Smart skin for airplane

Engineers at BAE systems are currently examining the advance technology feature which embeds tens of thousands of micro-sensors directly into the aircraft by spraying like paint. Thus the skin of the airplane would act like a human skin to feel temperature changes, movement, wind speed, physical strain etc. Not only these, it would also monitor the health of the plane and report back about the possible problems. The difficulties can be repaired before they become significant and thus improve the overall safety of the airplane.

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The idea of Smart skin has been initiated by BAE’s senior research scientist Lydia Hyde. She grasped this initiative from her tumble dryer which uses a sensor to prevent it from overheating. So she had decided to apply this technology plan on her work and was thinking to replace the bulky, expensive sensors with cheap, micro-sensors. Finally, she got an idea that aircraft, cars or ships could be covered by these motes to create a Smart skin which would sense the unpleasant conditions in real-time.

Advantages of Airplane skin

  1. The health of the plane can be monitored in real time and hence it is possible to avoid mild troubles before they become significant.
  2. The Smart skin idea could work in conjunction with advanced technologies which would let the airplane to find and fix the damage by itself.
  3. It reduces the risk of injury to the flight technicians while investigating the exterior of aircraft.

Conclusion:

BAE has introduced a lot of cool tech stuffs and now designing a smart skin for airplanes which would consist of tens of thousands of tiny sensors to get the data related to temperature, wind speed, plane movement etc. These miniature sensors would check the health of the plane in a consistent way to show the possible issues, safety estimation and parts replacement. The interesting thing of this new technology feature is that the sensors can be smaller than dust and will be sprayed onto the plane like a coat of paint.

As the Smart skin is still under the earlier stage of development, there is no announcement of accepting this technology by Airlines. I feel that this safety boost for airplanes is essential to avoid excessive ground-checkups and quick replacement of injured parts. I also believe that this Airplane skin will solve the safety issues and concerns of air travelers.

Am I correct? What is your opinion about this Smart skin protection for Airplanes? Use comment section to leave your opinion. 

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