New sensors to predict occurrence of landslides

Malaysia landslide team sitting in front of workshop banner

A key issue facing Malaysia is sudden and unexpected landslides following heavy rain causing loss of homes, crops, and infrastructure. This particularly impacts low-income and disadvantaged families.

The Newton-Ungku Omar Fund supported two highly experienced research groups from the UK to work closely with the leading research group in Malaysia to develop novel optical fibre-based pressure, rain and humidity sensors to detect the key factors to identify landslide movement. Together, they created a lightweight, packaged suite of new sensors with low battery power consumption, robust enough for use in the demanding Malaysian environment

These sensors enable remote monitoring of the increasingly heavy monsoon rains that are a precursor to landslide disasters, providing predictions about areas at risk to inform the decisions of policy makers. The project also organised capacity building workshops for participants from academia and industry from all over Malaysia, supporting SMEs to work in this field

We have developed novel optical rain and pressure sensors to monitorĀ  prolonged rainfall and pore-pressure development in rainsoaked soils, providing early landslide and ground movement warning.

Professor Azizur Rahman

This project was shortlisted for the Newton Prize 2017.


Ubiquitous Optical Sensors for Environmental Monitoring Impacting Climate Change

Project leads: Professor Azizur Rahman, City University of London, UK and Professor Harith Ahmad, Photonics Research Centre at the University of Malaya, Malaysia

Project partners: British Council and Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology