Autonomous decentralized structural health monitoring using smart sensors

T. Nagayama, B. F. Spencer, Jennifer A. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Though smart sensor technology has seen substantial advances during recent years, implementation of smart sensors on full-scale structures has been limited. Direct replacement of wired sensing systems with wireless sensor networks is not straightforward as off-the-shelf wireless systems are unlikely to provide the data users expect. The difficulty arises, in part, because centralized systems common for wired measurements are not scalable to large numbers of smart sensors. Decentralized computing is required to harvest the rich information that a dense array of smart sensors can make available for structural health monitoring (SHM). Decentralized system can be effectively managed by each sensor node and cluster autonomously performing tasks such as sensing and damage detection. Taking advantage of recent developments in middleware services which provide basic functionality for structural vibration measurements (e.g. synchronized sensing and reliable communication) this paper proposes an autonomous decentralized SHM approach using smart sensors. A set of algorithms that mesh well with the decentralized approach are first proposed and implemented on smart sensors. Finally, experimental validation of the implemented system is given and its damage detection capability is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-859
Number of pages18
JournalStructural Control and Health Monitoring
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Decentralized computing
  • Smart sensor
  • Structural health monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials

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