Newton Fund

Change text size:

A- A A+

New sensors to predict occurrence of landslides

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 rain and humidity sensors to detect landslide movement. 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 monitor prolonged rainfalls and pore-pressure development in rain-soaked soils, providing early landslide and ground movement warning.”

Professor Azizur Rahman



  Ubiquitous Optical Sensors for Environmental Monitoring Impacting Climate Change
  Lead PI: Professor Azizur Rahman. City University of London, UK
  Lead PI: Professor Harith Ahmad, Photonics Research Centre at the University of     Malaya, Malaysia
  Project partners: British Council
                                Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology