Mobile Sensors for Infrastructure Monitoring


Reference #: 00789


Smart sensors have the capability to communicate with other sensors and process information locally using their own wireless units and microprocessor. Smart sensor hardware has already been developed by other researchers and their capacities have been tested in real civil structures (Nagayama and Spencer, 2007; Lynch et al., 2004). Even though these studies have shown potential in substantially reducing the time and cost of instrumenting a structure, there are still some fundamental challenges faced by this technology such as battery life and overload of the communication network. Smart sensors provide a less expensive solution for the low spatial resolution problem, but the large amount of data processing and transmitting associated with dense sensor networks creates a challenge on network communication (Nagayama and Spencer, 2007). Having data sample rates of 200 points per second in each sensor and a total sampling time longer than 60 seconds are common in dynamic measurement. Considering 100 sensors in a single structure, it is possible to obtain datasets in the order of 1200000 points per minute that need to be processed. Distributing techniques, where each sensor or group of sensors process raw data and transmit processed information, has been proposed as a solution to this problem (Nagayama and Spencer, 2007).

Thus, there is a need for a methodology for modal identification that can be implemented using a reduced number of sensors, can provide for increased spatial resolution of the mode shape, and overcomes the disadvantages of communication network overload arising from use of large numbers of sensors.

Invention Description:

The subject invention generally relates to modal identification techniques for detecting dynamic properties of structures and more particularly to systems and methods for determining dynamic properties of structures with increased spatial resolution using one or more mobile sensors that collect vibration response data as they move through the structure. In particular, spatially dense mode shapes are determined using acceleration records collected when one or several sensors are moving. The mobile sensor gathers vibration response data for the structure as the mobile sensor moves over the structure. The vibration response data is used to extract a fine grid of modal coordinates with a reduced number of sensors and without requiring mode shape expansion. The highly spatially dense mode shapes can be included as part of accurate numerical models for the structure that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as damage detection, earthquake engineering, wind engineering, and other suitable purposes.

Potential Applications:

The present invention can be used to monitor the structural health of civil structures.

Advantages and Benefits:

  1. The methodology only requires the use of one or few single smart mobile sensors to calculate the modal parameters with high spatial density.

  2. Data can be easily processed on the sensor, limiting the data transmission to the obtained parameters only, greatly reducing the communication needs.

  3. The mobility characteristics of smart sensors have been exploited in this invention.


Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
System and Method for Modal Identification Using Smart Mobile Sensors Utility United States 12/758,321 8,577,628 4/12/2010 11/5/2013 4/18/2030  
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Juan Caicedo
© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Inteum