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MEMSIC Now Offers Wirelss Structural Health Monitoring System

Building on its popular Imote2 advanced wireless sensor platform, MEMSIC, Inc. (NASDAQ GM: MEMS) announced today the new Imote2 Structural Health Monitoring Board (ISM400), an integrated sensor board that enables an inexpensive means for continuous and reliable Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) using dense arrays of wireless smart sensors. This board is designed, developed, and tested by the NSF-sponsored Illinois Structural Health Monitoring Project (ISHMP), based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and licensed to MEMSIC, Inc. for commercial release.

“As a leading sensor manufacturer we are excited to collaborate with University of Illinois,” said Steve Tsui, Vice President of Worldwide Sales - System Business at MEMSIC, Inc. “This opportunity opens up new possibilities for wireless sensor applications, including monitoring of bridges, highways, structural integrity, and seismic events in locations and environments that would otherwise be too costly to observe with traditional monitoring systems.”

The ISM400 sensor board offers a compact, power efficient solution due to its integration of vibration, temperature, humidity and light detection functionality into one platform. The key component of the ISM400 board is the Quickfilter QF4A512, a versatile 4-channel ADC and programmable signal conditioner with user-selectable sampling rates and programmable digital filters. The board interfaces with the Imote2 via SPI and I2C I/O and has a three-axis analog accelerometer for vibration measurement, one general analog input, as well as digital temperature, humidity and light sensors. The ISM400 board provides the enabling technology that had been previously lacking to perform structural health monitoring using the Imote2.

After much testing and lab work, ISHMP researchers moved forward on a full-scale monitoring of the Jindo Bridge in South Korea. With the installation of a sensor network consisting of 70 ISM400/Imote2 nodes, the deployment represents the largest of its kind for civil infrastructure to date.

“The ISM400/Imote2 platform provides, for the first time, a commercial device with the ability to collect synchronized, high-fidelity, and vibration data wirelessly,” noted Dr. Bill Spencer, Professor of Civil Engineering at UIUC. “The device addresses the needs of the rapidly growing dynamic sensing community, particularly the portion engaged in monitoring the performance and health of structures. Large-scale, practical structural health monitoring deployments using smart wireless sensors will soon be common place.”

The board is supported by the ISHMP Services Toolsuite, which provides an open-source software library of customizable services and examples of SHM applications utilizing wireless smart sensor networks (WSSNs). The ISHMP Services Toolsuite on the Imote2 employs TinyOS as the operating system. The hardware is planned for general availability in Q3, and advance sales inquiries may be directed to [email protected].

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