Smart Aggregates: Distributed Sensor Suite for Remote Infrastructure Monitoring
Physical and analytical sensors need the ability to communicate via wireless connections to various forms of readout systems. Many applications for sensors are in remote and embedded locations where wired or optical connections are not practical or economical. Sensors in these applications need to be small, rugged and long life. Support platforms need to be able to adapt to a large variety of sensors including pressure, temperature, conductivity and analytical.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has developed and patented the Wireless Embedded Sensor Platform (WESP). The initial application for this technology was the Smart Aggregate (SA) program which embedded the sensor, transducer and communication system in concrete to measure the corrosion of rebars. The WESP is small (about the size of a quarter), rugged (made of high compression strength ceramics) and versatile(capable of being integrated with a wide variety of sensor elements), long lasting (no battery), and wireless. A remote transmitter powers the WESP up from a sleep mode, the sensor readings are converted in the WESP and transmitted to a receiver and once the measurement is made the unit goes back to sleep until the next request is made. Other applications for WESP are found in vessel and pipeline temperature stress and corrosion monitoring. Utilizing some other APL developed sensors the WESP could be used for environmental monitoring of chemical and biological agents.
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