SENsing SKIN' for Monitoring-Based Maintenance of the Transport Infrastructure

Communication and Integration of the Monitoring System (WP3)

Communication and Integration (WP3) activities include:

(a) the design, implementation and installation of the communication network infrastructure based on the requirements specification from WP1. The three operational modes (standard, on-demand, triggered) will be realised by mapping them to the relevant protocols. The protocol suite will include a standard DTN type of protocol (such as the Bundle Protocol), node synchronisation protocols, node discovery protocols, as well as a panic communication protocol. In addition, the application level software components that will make use of the protocol suite will also be designed and implemented. Considering the complexity, functionality and time estimates for the development and delivery of the software, the software development process that will be followed will be the waterfall model with feedback, allowing two major prototype versions. This will be compatible with the processes of WP2, WP4 and WP5 that deal with the underlying hardware and the sensors’ expected behaviour. The first release will include an early version prototype, supporting all design specifications. The feedback from the experimental evaluation of the sensor devices (WP4) will be used to refine the design and produce the second version of the device firmware that will be integrated in the final product in WP5. As such, the testing of the firmware will be performed in the software development environment, as well as in the TRL's laboratory.  

 (b) the final integration of the several hardware and software components, which have been designed and developed in the previous WPs into  a  solution for bridge applications, namely the SENSKIN device. 

 The integration migration of the several system functional blocks to a solid, autonomous wireless sensor node are scheduled to be completed in three phases:

 ·         In phase I, the alpha version of SENSKIN integrated device (that encompasses the spatial sensor, DAQ, energy storage device, microcontroller, energy harvester and its interfaces) will be integrated to the communication components (transducer, low-power wake-up receiver, antenna, etc). The architecture and the placement of the devices must be done in such a way that the minimum size package will be achieved, without affecting the operational properties of the platform.

 ·         At the next phase, the final version of communication protocols and algorithms suite for the operation, control and management of the wireless sensor device will be installed. 

 ·         Finally, in phase III, the calibration of sensors, the verification of the system and the package behavior against moisture, and temperature variations will be experimentally certified.

During the first two years of activities, WP3 has focused on the communication activities and more specifically on analysing communication system requirements, as defined in Deliverable D1.1 (and specifications D1.2), in order to derive a proper design framework for the communication system and on conducting an initial market search, in an effort to evaluate the available solutions regarding the communication chips that the SENSKIN device will employ. WP3 has provided significant input to the D1.2 regarding the specifications of the communication system but also integration matters affecting the overall SENSKIN system. After this stage, WP3 activities focused on the design and development of the communication system, as well as, on the integration of the communication with the processing module. In terms of design, the basic operational framework of the communication system was defined. This framework includes the system architecture of the communication module, the disruption-tolerant network (DTN) architecture over which SENSKIN WSN nodes will interact with each other and the operational logic protocol through which the communication system will support SENSKIN platform operations. Based on the proposed system architecture, specific hardware components and software elements have been selected for the development of the communication module. The design of the software interface for providing access to the network daemon of the communication has now completed, while the design of the processing module software interface through which the communication module will be able to contact with the processing module is pending. WP3 partners have already agreed on the hardware interfaces that will be employed to interconnect the two modules, with some details, mainly regarding particular pins connections etc. Communication considerations regarding the connectivity and interfacing of the communication unit with the DAQ have also been finalized. Available solutions regarding the SENSKIN communication gateway, which enables the interconnection of the SENSKIN nodes’ network and the conventional strain monitoring system deployed in the field with the remote decision support system (DSS) center have also concluded. The design of the SENSKIN Node Communication PCB has progressed which will host the Communication MCU and the Communication modules. Moreover, an initial, proof of concept, version of the software which will allow the seamless communication between the Application MCU and the Communication MCU through their serial (UART) interfaces, has been developed. The design of the communication system concluded (related to task 3.1 and as reported in D3.1) while the design and implementation of the communication module is now progressing in plan with significant progress on the actual communication algorithms, undisruptive communications etc (task 3.2). Regarding task 3.3 the integration of the radio modules and communication software into the SENSKI integrated device has significantly progressed through the development of interfaces between the MCU and communication system, the development of the low-power wake-up receiver, the system packaging, the node PCB design and implementation and their testing that comprise the SENSKIN sensor nodes.

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