Fiber Optic Current Sensors for high voltage applications
Facebook Connectivity has partnered with ULC Robotics to develop a robot that can spool fiber on a medium voltage power line, reducing the cost of connection by a factor of 3-5.
Using the existing infrastructure for cable laying allows not only automating the process, but one team work on several sites.
On average, a robot in one working day is able to wind 1.5-2 km of cable at a price of $ 2-3 per meter, taking into account all costs and workers’ wages. Although it is able to independently detect and overcome obstacles, craftsmen still need to tune, recharge, raise, lower and switch on transitions.
During the development process, the team faced a number of problems. First of all, the device should be light enough so as not to damage the cable, but still be able to run a sufficient amount of fiber. To address the issue of mass, engineers have reduced the stock of fiber carried.
Another problem was that power lines can operate at high voltages, heat up to temperatures at which standard fiber cladding melts, and stretch when exposed to heat and wind. Therefore, the team decided to use a durable 200 micron fiber with a special cladding weighing 12.7 kg per 1 km of span..
According to the developers, the device allows not only to speed up the deployment of networks in developing countries, but also to reduce the cost of work by 3-5 times..
In addition to fiber optic automation, researchers are also improving data transmission equipment. For example, recently a team of scientists unveiled an optical microcircuit that increases Internet speed to 44.2 Tbps..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Facebook
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