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    Scientists in the Philippines Design Affordable Landslide Sensor

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    A new landslide sensor is being developed in the Philippines. The device is designed to warm residents hours before a landslide is visible to the naked eye. And at a fraction of the price of current detectors, it may be able to save more lives in poorer areas.

    Students and faculty at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) are developing a landslide warning device that can prompt early evacuations and prevent casualties.

    The prototype sensors are cylindrical nodes planted 2 meters (1.24) deep in the foot of a mountain.

    It is similar to but much less expensive than the conventional inclinometer that measures earth movements via a casing which moves from its initial position when the ground moves.

    But at around 45 thousand dollars U.S., inclinometers are much too expensive for poor communities whose priorities are food supply, farm materials and road infrastructure.

    [Ruffa Carreon, Engineering Student & Research Assistant]:
    "This is one of the columns in our experiment. It has several nodes. One node has a tilt and soil motion sensor. So it is connected to a computer, and ported to a graphical user interface to show any movement can be seen on the screen."

    The group, consisting of engineering students, faculty and geologists from U.P., started designing the sensors two years ago originally as a construction aid, but saw its potential as a landslide warning device.

    The team plans to equip the sensors with an interface that would accurately measure soil movements and pinpoint the tipping point of a landslide in order to warn the community hours before calamity strikes.