Indexed on: 21 Dec '18Published on: 18 Dec '18Published in: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Wireless smart sensors (WSS) have been proposed as an effective means to reduce the high cost of wired structural health monitoring systems. However, many damage scenarios for civil infrastructure involve sudden events, such as strong earthquakes, which can result in damage or even failure in a matter of seconds. Wireless monitoring systems typically employ duty cycling to reduce power consumption; hence, they will miss such events if they are in power-saving sleep mode when the events occur. This paper develops a demand-based WSS to meet the requirements of sudden event monitoring with minimal power budget and low response latency, without sacrificing high-fidelity measurements or risking a loss of critical information. In the proposed WSS, a programmable event-based switch is implemented utilizing a low-power trigger accelerometer; the switch is integrated in a high-fidelity sensor platform. Particularly, the approach can rapidly turn on the WSS upon the occurrence of a sudden event and seamlessly transition from low-power acceleration measurement to high-fidelity data acquisition. The capabilities of the proposed WSS are validated through laboratory and field experiments. The results show that the proposed approach is able to capture the occurrence of sudden events and provide high-fidelity data for structural condition assessment in an efficient manner.