Development of a wireless displacement measurement system using acceleration responses

Jong Woong Park, Sung Han Sim, Hyung Jo Jung, Spencer Billie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Displacement measurements are useful information for various engineering applications such as structural health monitoring (SHM), earthquake engineering and system identification. Most existing displacement measurement methods are costly, labor-intensive, and have difficulties particularly when applying to full-scale civil structures because the methods require stationary reference points. Indirect estimation methods converting acceleration to displacement can be a good alternative as acceleration transducers are generally cost-effective, easy to install, and have low noise. However, the application of acceleration-based methods to full-scale civil structures such as long span bridges is challenging due to the need to install cables to connect the sensors to a base station. This article proposes a low-cost wireless displacement measurement system using acceleration. Developed with smart sensors that are low-cost, wireless, and capable of on-board computation, the wireless displacement measurement system has significant potential to impact many applications that need displacement information at multiple locations of a structure. The system implements an FIR-filter type displacement estimation algorithm that can remove low frequency drifts typically caused by numerical integration of discrete acceleration signals. To verify the accuracy and feasibility of the proposed system, laboratory tests are carried out using a shaking table and on a three storey shear building model, experimentally confirming the effectiveness of the proposed system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8377-8392
Number of pages16
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Acceleration
  • Bridge displacement
  • Displacement
  • Displacement estimation
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Wireless smart sensor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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