UCI Professors Receive National Science Foundation Grant

Grant will be used for building wireless sensors for structural health monitoring

June 27, 2005 - Masanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D. and Pai Chou, Ph.D., two UC Irvine professors from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, are the recipients of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that supports their research in building wireless sensors for structural health monitoring.

Shinozuka, distinguished professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering, and Chou, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and affiliated with the Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing, were awarded $95,000 from the NSF on Jan. 1, 2005.

The grant will be used to replicate, assemble, and test as many wireless sensors as possible on a larger scale, deploying their devices in Calit2 or other appropriate infrastructures.  Ultimately, these wireless sensors will help communicate the conditions within a particular infrastructure. 

The sensors are specifically designed to measure and monitor vibrations in real-time, collecting sensitive data in places that may be difficult or awkward for humans to access within larger infrastructures, such as buildings and bridges.

“The idea is to bring technology to everyday infrastructure so that we can all live with greater assurance that we are safe.  We want people to have a higher confidence level,” said Chou.

Chou said the sensors are also considered multi-purpose, and could potentially be utilized in other applications such as emergency warning systems, back-up communication systems, phone lines, and even the Internet.

Other UC Irvine research for Chou includes working to develop a number of embedded instruments, including a B# battery emulator, which is a smart power supply that imitates the power output of a battery, and the mini-FDPM breast cancer detector in collaboration with the Beckman Laser Institute.

Shinozuka, an expert in earthquake and structural engineering, focuses much of his research on earthquake engineering in buildings, bridges, lifeline and environmental systems.  His work and research incorporates numerous aspects of infrastructure system problems and challenges.