Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Termite detection gets radar assistance

A new electronic device now offers a means for early detection of termites.
Termite detection gets radar assistance
Once termites have set in, damages to wooden structures such as floors or walls can be severe. The problem is, once they have been discovered, it is usually too late to avoid expensive refurbishing and fumigation bills.

Current methods of termite detection are fraught with shortcomings. This is because they cannot access all parts of a building and because they are costly and their overall effectiveness is questionable. Furthermore, the results are determinant on the inspector's experience and expertise.

Now an Andalusian research group has developed an electronic means by which termites can be detected. The Andalusian method is an electronic acoustical device that proffers a cheaper, simpler mechanism that is more effective, and efficient. In essence the device is an acoustic detection system, specifically honed to identify termite generated sounds. Whether the termites are digging or eating, this radar focuses on the location and sends a signal to a local, personal computer.

While in essence, the theory is simple; the acoustic analysis is far more complicated. Unfortunately, background noise could play havoc with many such sound detection systems. The developers however, have introduced two innovative processes that guarantee accurate determination of termite activity.

A higher order statistics technique to assess sounds is the first, and a higher-order spectra analysis used to detect and characterise acoustic, ultrasonic and vibratory signals the latter. Together these two processes are capable of filtering background noises so as not to interfere with measurements.

Utilising a home based personal computer and low cost, non-invasive sensors, the technology can also be used for finding faults in machinery based on the same principles. Additional advantageous aspects presented by the technology include detection in low signal-to-noise-ratio conditions, user friendliness and lower cost.

This new technology should help homeowners in preventing serious damage to their homes. Currently the developers are looking for industries or companies willing to develop the technology for new market needs.
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