Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper proposes the development of intelligent sensors as part of an integrated systems approach, i.e. one treats the sensors as a complete system with its own sensing hardware (the traditional sensor), A/D converters, processing and storage capabilities, software drivers, self-assessment algorithms, communication protocols and evolutionary methodologies that allow them to get better with time. Under a project being undertaken at the NASA s Stennis Space Center, an integrated framework is being developed for the intelligent monitoring of smart elements. These smart elements can be sensors, actuators or other devices. The immediate application is the monitoring of the rocket test stands, but the technology should be generally applicable to the Integrated Systems Health Monitoring (ISHM) vision. This paper outlines progress made in the development of intelligent sensors by describing the work done till date on Physical Intelligent Sensors (PIS). The PIS discussed here consists of a thermocouple used to read temperature in an analog form which is then converted into digital values. A microprocessor collects the sensor readings and runs numerous embedded event detection routines on the collected data and if any event is detected, it is reported, stored and sent to a remote system through an Ethernet connection. Hence the output of the PIS is data coupled with confidence factor in the reliability of the data which leads to information on the health of the sensor at all times. All protocols are consistent with IEEE 1451.X standards. This work lays the foundation for the next generation of smart devices that have embedded intelligence for distributed decision making capabilities.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.