Learn how embedding battery-free accelerometers can improve structural health monitoring efforts after natural disasters thus improving population safety.

Knowing the status of buildings and constructions in general has always been very important. The term Structural Health Monitoring – or SHM by its initials – summarizes the importance of collecting information about buildings you can act upon.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous sensing gaining traction, being able to sense critical infrastructure data in order to act based on objective data has become a priority in structural health monitoring.

As an example, all countries heavily affected by natural disasters have developed some form of building and infrastructure inspection to understand the impact of disasters. It is critical to know if it is safe to use the infrastructure. Check some examples about inspections after natural disasters in this previous post.

Embedding battery-free accelerometers in buildings may well be a good solution for structural health monitoring. Three axis accelerometers can give you the inclination of a specific pillar.

By locating three axis accelerometers in key positions into houses or other infrastructure, inspection teams have a history of data of the structures they can store in databases. After any natural disaster happens, inspection staff will go and retrieve new data from the accelerometers.

Kineo for Structural Health Monitoring

Kineo for Structural Health Monitoring

This data will go directly into data mining software and compare with the previous data stored about that specific accelerometer. When the difference is too big or the inclination surpasses a safety value indicated by the experts, an alert will be activated indicating exactly which building and pillar are in danger.

The data collection is as easy as going by with a handheld device – kind of a PDA. The battery-free sensors will communicate with the handheld which in turn shares the information via GSM, WiFi or any other means of connection.

On top of sharing critical data with inspection teams, these sensors need no maintenance – no need to change batteries because they operate battery-free. This means there’s no operating cost associated to the deployment of these sensors.