The electric fish has inspired the development of a remote intelligent system that can detect the early signs of an electrical power failure.
Alexe Bojovschi led a team from Melbourne’s RMIT University to create a remote sensor system that can identify and locate a fault along large stretches of power line, enabling them to monitor large power networks and to prevent electrical fires.
“The pre-fault detection system has the enormous potential of ensuring a safe and secure place for humanity,” Alexe says.
He says nature has perfected systems over millions of years, which could transmit and receive different kinds of radiation, like the electric fish. Its ability to transmit and receive through water inspired the realisation that the signs of electrical failure propagated through the power line itself, leading to the development of a remote sensing system that could monitor the voltage drops caused by electrical discharges.
A spin-off power company, IND Technology, has now been established, which can build intelligent power networks.
Electrical faults have been shown to cause power losses and bushfires, like the Black Saturday fires, which can lead to disastrous physiological, human and economic losses.