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Tsinghua Science and Technology  2015, Vol. 20 Issue (4): 317-326    doi: 10.1109/TST.2015.7173448
WiSeREmulator: An Emulation Framework for Wireless Structural Health Monitoring
Rajat Khanda,Rong Zheng*,Gangbing Song
∙ Rajat Khanda and Gangbing Song are with Department of Electrical Eng., University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA. E-mail:;
∙ Rong Zheng is with Department of Computing and Software, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S4K1, USA.
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Many competing approaches exist in evaluating sensor network solutions differing by levels of ease of use, cost, control, and realism. Existing work concentrates on simulating network protocols or emulating processing units at the machine cycle level. However, little has been done to emulate the sensors and the physical environments that they monitor. The main contribution of this work is the design of WiserEmulator, an emulation framework for structural health monitoring, which gracefully balances the trade-offs between realism, controllability, and cost. WiserEmulator consists of two main components - a testbed of wireless sensor nodes and a software emulation environment. To emulate the excitation and response of piezo-electric transducers, as well as the wave propagation inside concrete structures, the COMSOL Multi-Physics software was utilized. Digitized sensing output from COMSOL was played back via a multi-channel Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) connected to the wireless sensor testbed. In addition to the emulation of concrete structures, WiSeREmulator also allows users to choose pre-stored data collected from field experiments and synthesized data. A user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) was developed that facilitates intuitive configurations of experimental settings, control of the on-set and progression of the experiments, and real-time visualization of experimental results. We have implemented WiSeREmulator in MATLAB. This work advances the state of the art in providing low cost solutions to evaluating Cyber Physical Systems such as wireless structural health monitoring networks.

Key wordsstructure health monitoring      cyber physical systems      emulater     
Received: 03 June 2015      Published: 15 August 2015
Corresponding Authors: Rong Zheng   
Cite this article:

Rajat Khanda,Rong Zheng,Gangbing Song. WiSeREmulator: An Emulation Framework for Wireless Structural Health Monitoring. Tsinghua Science and Technology, 2015, 20(4): 317-326.

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Fig. 1 Structural health monitoring using smart aggregates[4].
Fig. 2 WiSeREmulator architecture.
Fig. 3 Hardware components in WiSeREmulator.
Fig. 4 25-node testbed. Among them, 16 nodes are connected to the ADC via their analog input pins.
Fig. 5 Main menu.
Fig. 6 Pre-stored data input interface.
Fig. 7 Synthesized data input interface.
Fig. 8 COMSOL data input interface.
Fig. 9 Serial port data display interface.
Fig. 10 Received wave forms using test beam and COMSOL simulations.
Fig. 11 Wave attenuation over different frequencies.
Fig. 12 Wave attenuation over distance. In COMSOL, for tractability, distances are scaled down by 1000 times.
Fig. 13 Voltage induced in two piezo transducers in front of and behind a crack due to 1 kHz sin wave at the actuator.
Fig. 14 Data transmission in single-hop scenario.
Fig. 15 Data transmission in multi-hop scenario.
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