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Wireless Monitoring




Wireless Monitoring Systems

Structural Health Integrated Electronic Life Determination System (SHIELD) is a new technically advanced system for structural health monitoring with the capability of small, low cost, low power wireless sensor networks as well as integration with legacy systems.  The SHIELD Core has large and expandable storage capacity, fast processing, and the TDM™ feature for integration of existing wired and wireless sensor networks.  Includes an advanced ZIGBEE sensor network.  Off-board communications include many standards: Ethernet, WiFi (IEEE 802.11g), Serial (RS232, RS485)and CAN Bus.




Transparent Distributed Multi-processing (TDM™) Integrate one or multiple separate processors or legacy systems via most communications methods.  TDM features master clock, direct memory access, and other services to provide seamless integration of legacy systems and simultaneous operation of multiple sensor networks – with data inter-leave and universal data access.


ZIGBEE Wireless SensorsUsing the Motorola neuRFon™ wireless networking, SHIELD and SHIELD-Con can have up to 32,000 wireless sensors.  The sensor and data forwarding nodes self-network to accommodate addition or loss of individual nodes automatically.  The SHIELD data packet protocol is universal and can be used with any type of sensor – making wireless sensor integration, or conversion from wired to wireless, completely transparent and seamless.


Accurate TimestampingThe N. A. Tech. SureTime™ system ensures accurate timestamping of data from the wireless sensors with all times coordinated to the master system clock.  Multiple sensor data can be tracked and “smart” algorithms can then be used to track individual events or actions across multiple sensors or even sensor networks.


Low Power Wireless NodesThe SHIELD and SHIELD-Con Systems use the N. A. Tech. SureTime™ system neuRFon™ and TI CC2430 with beaconing ZIGBEE Stack to provide maximum sleep time and minimum burst data transmit on time to provide sensor node power consumption in the low 100’s of micro-ampere average power use.  N. A. Tech. SHIELD sensor nodes use event or time driven processor wake-up to minimize power usage during non-event periods.


Energy HarvestingThe ultra low power wireless sensor nodes bring energy harvesting capability for completely autonomous sensor node operation – no need to ever change batteries.


Bi-Directional Wireless CommunicationsIndividual nodes can be re-programmed with new software via the wireless network.  Facilitates easy, low cost, upgrade of algorithms, or multi-use nodes – for example, a sensor node contained in a component of an apparatus can be an RFID inventory tag in a spare part and be automatically re-programmed to be a sensor node when installed. 


NATech is using the latest Texas Instruments and Motorola digital signal processor (DSP) technology to speed up processing of data through full system models.  The hardware and software being developed for SHIELD by NATech is capable of handling data from several hundred sensors in real-time.  Using the P/NA3 algorithms, embedded in the DSP hardware, the central node can fuse data from multiple and diverse types of sensors, to analyze system performance in real-time.  With Caterpillar as the customer, NATech has developed a model of the largest wheel loader ever produced.  While this vehicle lifts a load of over 30 tons of earth and rock, the NATech software can process sensor data in real-time and calculate the load throughout the structure and also calculate the fatigue damage at several thousand points on the critical structural elements of the vehicle.


Using the Neurfon™ (IEEE 802.15 standard) RF technology developmed at Motorola, this system is capable of two way, noise tolerant, high speed digital communication between the gateway and central DSP node and all of the sensors in the system – at an extremely low per unit cost and with very low power consumption.  Motorola expects 802.15 to become the world standard for this type of breakthrough technology within two or three years.  But, now, this technology is limited to the SHIELD joint venture partners.  NATech expects to have a network of Neurfon sensors operational by the end of 2007 in it’s laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado. 


SHIELD-Con™ is the SHIELD System with integrated controller for applications where action is needed.  An integrated process controller provides up to 8 axes of motion and both digital and high speed Digital-to-Analog (D/A) control output.  Fast PID loop control of the motion axes and of control output allows easy integration for control applications.


SHIELD™ Core – "Smart" Planner

Incorporates deterministic, probabilistic, and neural network models to provide high level process control – planner can react to part variability and other environmental disturbances and make optimum process control changes – also can use sensor data and generate optimum process plans prior to the start of the manufacturing process.

ZIGBEE Wireless Sensor System

Provides cost effective low power low data rate sensor data communication – reduces wiring and connectors – improved reliability and reduced maintenance.

Transparent Distributed Multi-processing (TDM™)

Multiple simultaneous independent processes can operate within or external to the SHIELD-Core on separate processors – provides a “virtual backplane” for integration of sensor processing, control decision-making, model operating, and other miscellaneous activities – each can use DMA for fast access to the same memory, while operating completely independently of all other processes – Network Interface applets (NATNI™) act as interface drivers and data/command translators to “foreign” hardware/software processors and hardware drivers to external processors (e.g. DSP's).

Large Memory Capacity

Provides three levels of access speed, and adequate storage for both programs and data memory for logs and quality control reports – at the fastest level, SDRAM is used for direct memory access (DMA) – sensor data is internally timestamped and instantly available via DMA to all running applications via NATNI.

Integrated DSP Control

Provides very high speed control via direct PID loop, and fast sensor data processing, as well as low level control directed by the model based reasoning of the SHIELD Core – integrated with the TI TMS320C6XXX data processor and the TMS320F2XXX family of motor controllers, sensor data processing bandwidth is maximized and crisp accurate motion control is enabled.

High Speed Ethernet

Utilized as both an internal communication channel as well as providing off-board high speed link for any external information exchange – has standard TCP/IP and Sockets protocol capability for LAN, WAN, and dedicated networks using CAT7 wired and 802.11g wireless.  

Wide Array of Wired Communications

Provides a platform for integration of most types of sensors, reduces cost and increases reliability of sensor integration by maximizing the choices and not limiting the type or brand of sensor – enables seamless integration of different types of sensors into a tight array to improve system performance.

VERi2COM™ Integrated

Remote expert maintenance operations are enabled when integrated with VERi2COM -- portable video teleconferencing – which is available for troubleshooting and training using the VERi2COM station system – maximizes up-time and provides instant access of maintenance personnel to data, drawings, video and audio clips of experts, and direct two-way teleconferencing on a portable platform designed for use at the site.




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