SBIR Phase I: Wireless Accelerometer Network and Integration with Point Clouds for 3D Stability Monitoring

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
2555 N. Jackrabbit Avenue, TUCSON, AZ, 85745-0000
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Donald Kraemer
(520) 327-3773
Business Contact:
Donald Kraemer
(520) 327-3773
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will create a rock and soil monitoring technology based on the integration of wireless accelerometers and topographic point clouds. The wireless accelerometers could be deployed in open-pit mines, highways, and other critical areas including dam and bridge foundations. In some uses of the system, such as mines and quarries and along highways, routine vibrations from blasting and highway traffic would be used to sound the accelerometers, determine resonance frequencies, and predict when unstable ground conditions are occurring. In other uses of the system, the accelerometers could be sounded manually to predict the stability of critical structures near dam and bridge foundations. Point cloud processing software will be developed to serve as the key visualization and analysis tool for the accelerometer data, and by integrating sensor point clouds with traditional topographic point clouds, new instability prediction methods will be developed. Specific research activities include field accelerometer monitoring and LIDAR scanning in an open-pit mine and an interstate highway, processing vibration data to determine source properties and ground frequencies, modifying point cloud software to accept sensor point clouds, and developing procedures for predicting unstable ground movement from resonance frequencies. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project are related to increased safety, both the safety of workers (mining, highway, rail, dam, etc.), and the safety of the general public that are impacted by unstable rock and soil structures along highway and rail slopes and bridge and dam foundations. By closely monitoring the vibrations due to blasting, the damage to rock and soil structures as well as buildings and other structures can be reduced. This increases safety and also reduces the cost of stabilizing slopes and buildings. By utilizing inexpensive accelerometers, this technology would allow long stretches of potentially unstable highway and rail slopes to be monitored. Even though this proposal is focused on the stability of rock and soil structures, it could have future applications in much broader fields including the stability of civil structures such as buildings and bridges, and the monitoring of construction and manufacturing sites. The proposed monitoring system would collect valuable information on rock and soil resonance frequencies and associated instability that would be of interest to companies and universities. By continually monitoring potentially unstable rock and soil exposures, a large database of useful information would be collected.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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