The research objective of this award is to resolve significant integration and deployment problems currently limiting structural health monitoring utilizing an innovative multiple-input multiple-output radar-based approach. A software-defined wireless radar sensor network will be devised to monitor structural vibration and deflection with unprecedented accuracy. Passive distributed sensing for low-power data aggregation will also be achieved taking advantage of the multi-input multi-output network. The impacts will be embodied as new capabilities of radar sensor networks for robust structural health monitoring. The approach will be founded on a hybrid fusion of radar solutions, enabled by novel hardware and data processing algorithms. Software configurability will be a driving force in this effort to revolutionize the capability of radar systems while maintaining a compact size. The hardware, software and signal processing innovations will be incorporated to achieve an integrated sensor network system that will be validated in both the laboratory and in a full-scale field deployment.
If successful, the benefits of this research will include novel methods for structural health monitoring, a critical concern for the management of aging infrastructure in the United States, as well as the advancement of approaches to monitoring rotating and reciprocating machinery in transportation and manufacturing industries. This research bridges the fields of civil engineering, microwave engineering, embedded systems, and radar signal processing. Through student involvement and outreach, the multidisciplinary nature of this project will enable unique educational opportunities that are often missing in traditional engineering curriculums. In addition, the utilization of an international test-bed for the proposed full-scale field experiment promises to cultivate important collaborations that are critical to the advancement of knowledge on a global scale.