Structural Control of Civil Infrastructure Using Bio-Inspired Wireless Sensor Nodes

Student Author(s)

Ireana Cook

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Courtney Peckens

Document Type


Event Date



Aging, deterioration, and external loads, such as high winds and seismic excitation, continue to abate the condition of civil infrastructure. Active, semiactive, and passive structural control systems offer a means to mitigate these effects. Despite the considerable amount of research and implementation of data acquisition systems in structural control, the challenges of high energy costs, latency, restricting tethered systems, and unreliable wireless systems are still prevalent. A new, bio-inspired sensor draws from the mammalian auditory system using band pass signal filtering and high data compression capabilities allowing for low power, real-time processing and decentralized control. Despite the feats of this new high speed wireless system, communication issues still exist. Because of the real-time processing, high data transmission leads to a maxed out wireless channel. A potential solution is to eliminate extraneous data in packets by prioritizing information transmitted from each sensor. The 1940 El Centro earthquake signal was output to a four-story structure model and data was collected using the bio-inspired wireless sensors. Through an energy analysis of 12 filter sensors, the data showed filters 7, 3, 10, and 2 transmitted the highest energy signals and therefore, should be given higher priority. The corresponding frequencies of these filters are 4.9 Hz, 2.1 Hz, 7.0 Hz, and 1.4 Hz. These frequencies closely correlate with the natural frequencies, 1.3 Hz, 1.95 Hz, 4.8 Hz, and 6.83 Hz, of the four-story structure model. This validates the bio-inspired wireless sensors and allows for future work in sensor prioritization and extraneous data elimination.


This research was supported by the Hope College Dean Start-Up Fund.

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