The Electronics We Walk Over

Subterranean electronics are all around us – well – below us. The term subterranean means something which appears beneath the earth’s surface, usually concealed. So, as assumed, subterranean electronics are electronics which are underground. Whether we realise it or not, these electronics play a vital role in our everyday lives, whether we realise it or not. From underground transportation to oil rigs, subterranean electronics play a huge part in maintaining a healthy global economy and a greener planet. 


Subterranean electronics come in many different forms. Surprisingly, many submerged electronics are IoT based and measure environmental factors such as PH levels, saturation and temperatures. Subterranean electronics are very popular for agriculture communities. Most harvesting fields you see nowadays will have sensors buried within the soil which measures pH levels. The soil content and quality are a key factor for successful produce. The best pH for plants to thrive successfully is typically between 5.5 and 6.5, so it is important for subterranean sensors to monitor the acidity of the soil. If the sensor recognises the soil is not in the correct bandwidth, it will automatically alert whom it may concern. Not only can subterranean sensors recognise pH levels, but also density and water intake.  Many people wouldn’t recognise the technology which is associated with growing plants – so much so that many farmers rely on sensors to monitor and optimize crops by adapting to the constant changing environmental conditions.  

Subterranean electronics within the IoT sector can also be used to detect natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes. A Seismograph is an instrument which is used to detect and record earthquakes. They are recorded by a seismographic network which consists of seismic stations located a certain distance apart from each other. Each seismic station measures the movement of the ground at that area and any abnormal activity (such as a slip of one rock) will immediately alert it.   


Many of you at least once in your life would’ve been on an underground train – whether it’s the London tube, New York subway or the Eurostar, you’re likely to have stumbled across one. Subterranean electronics play a huge part in the process of transporting underground products or people from one location to another. Many underground commuters don’t realise how much technology is involved in transportation circuits. The Inner Circle of the London underground took 21 years to build – from 1863 to 1884). Stated by Independent, each tunnel-boring machine for Crossrail costs £10m and the trains will cost another £1bn. 

Not only this, subterranean electronics assisting transportation is hugely beneficial for road users when approaching busy junctions. The most common sensors embedded within the road are induction loops. Inductive loops are coils of wire that have been embedded on the surface of the road to detect changes in inductance and convey them to the sensor circuitry in order to produce signals. Induction loops assist road users by detecting a vehicle on the road and cycle the lights to allow traffic on the other side of the road to pass through – avoiding the stationary car.  

Environmental Management 

Especially for farming, sensors within the soil are an efficient way to monitor ambient temperature, humidity, light intensity and soil electrical propertiesThe benefits of subterranean sensors mean farmers can access data which is undetected to the human eye. This is beneficial for successful land management and accessing potential land obstacles such as flooding, drought etc.  

Extraction of Materials 

According to Science – How Stuff Works, in 1947, a consortium of oil companies built the first platform that you couldn’t see from land in the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore drilling is a mechanical process whereby a wellbore is drilled into the seabed to extract materials such as petroleum. Once the offshore oil rigs have been constructed, methods of extracting must be developed which avoids oil seeping into the ocean. However, Deepwater oil extracting is also very dangerous to humans as well as wildlife. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the world. The number of deaths from the oil spill were 13 dues to the explosion caused by the flammable oil. The Deepwater horizon was 10 years old prior to the explosion.  

By Amy Leary, Marketing Manager at 

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