Zigbee-Enabled Structural Health Monitoring with the SmartBrick Network


This paper describes the development and testing of a wireless sensor network for autonomous health monitoring (SHM), based on the SmartBrick, an SHM device developed at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The SmartBrick serves as the base station for the network. Each sensor node measures a range of environmental and structural phenomena, including vibration, tilt, humidity, and strain. The nodes use Zigbee short-range communication to transmit their data to the base station, which in turn uses the GSM cellular network to provide long-range communication capability and support for remote control. Unlike many existing SHM systems, the SmartBrick network has been designed from the outset to minimize power consumption. This minimization is reflected in the hardware design, as well as in the software control of peripheral power and dynamic clock switching. The network as a whole is projected to operate autonomously for up to four years without requiring on-site maintenance, largely due to the minimal power consumption and rugged design. The low power consumption makes the system especially well-suited to more permanent monitoring applications. The focus of this paper is on the most recent stage in the evolution of the SmartBrick, primarily the addition of short-range wireless communication using Zigbee. This new capability allows several devices to be interconnected to measure larger structures, such as multi-span bridges, and facilitates communication with other Zigbee-enabled devices.

Meeting Name

7th International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring: From System Integration to Autonomous Systems (2009: Sep. 9-11, Stanford, CA)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Base Stations; Electric Power Utilization; Monitoring; Remote Control; Sensor Nodes; Wireless Sensor Networks; Wireless Telecommunication Systems; Zigbee; Development And Testing; GSM Cellular Networks; Long-Range Communications; Low-Power Consumption; Monitoring Applications; Science And Technology; Short-Range Communication; Short-Range Wireless Communications; Structural Health Monitoring

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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