Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-9 - 43

Earthquake Early Detection as
an IEEE1451 Transducer Network
Trigger for Urban Infrastructure
Monitoring and Protection
Marco Carratù, António Espírito-Santo, Gustavo Monte, and Vincenzo Paciello

T

he occurrence of an earthquake has immediate consequences, such as the destruction of buildings.
However, the impact can be much more severe and
extend over time. The arrival of an earthquake's destructive
wave can subsequently: produce a rupture in water distribution pipes, leading to water leakage, when water is even
more valuable; break gas pipelines that will continue to lose
gas and cause explosions leading to fires; cause the electrical
power grid to come into contact with conductive structures,
putting humans at risk of electrocution; or cause electrical discharges, which, in the presence of flammable materials, can
give rise to fires. On the other hand, the storage of information
collected by sensors that monitor the forces and deformations
to which the building structure is subjected during the earthquake, allows engineers to know its state of health, right after
the occurrence of the earthquake, making it possible to draw
conclusions about the safety level of the building, not only for
the immediate rescue, but also to execute the recovery and stabilization work [1], [2].

Smart Transducer Interfaced by the
IEEE1451
The adoption of the IEEE1451 standard [3] has advantages not
only in the level of integration achieved but also in the possibility of ease of scalability. The number of sensors used to monitor
the infrastructure can be easily modified, taking advantage of the
ability to automatically discover a new element and use plugand-play functionality to associate it with the network. The
network configuration task is also easier by using data files that
describe the transducers in detail. As will be demonstrated in this
paper, information processing and decision making are also fully
integrated within the network, avoiding the need to adopt interfaces and contributing to diminished system complexity.
In 1993, the IEEE and National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) began working on the standard for Smart
Sensor Networks. The acronym IEEE1451 identifies a family
of standards that deals with defining and standardizing everything related to smart transducers. Three main elements
are proposed:
December 2020	

◗◗ Transducer Interface Module (TIM), consisting of a
certain number of transducers (sensors and actuators),
conversion blocks, and data processing.
◗◗ Network Capable Application Processor (NCAP), that
gives TIMs access to the user network;
◗◗ The physical interface between the NCAP and the TIM,
called the Transducer Independent Interface (TII), that
can be both wired and wireless.
TIM operation is managed by a state machine. Upon receiving a reset command, or after power on, the state machine
puts TIM in the Initialization State. After entering the Active
State, TIM is operational and responds to all commands sent
by the NCAP.
An essential element of a TIM is the transducer channel that
encapsulates all of the elements associated with a transducer:
transducer, electronics for signal conditioning; domain conversion, data structures; and associated functionality. A state
machine manages the transducer channel operation.
A transduction channel for each sensor and/or actuator
is implemented inside the TIM. It is possible to join transducer channels in functional groups. This logical association
supports the development of complex transducers. A control
group associates transducer channels around a primary channel to control it.
Embedded transducers are internal to the TIM, do not have
physical representativity, and are used to control the behavior
of other internal elements.
TIM and transducer channels are described by the transducer electronic data sheet (TEDS). Information is stored in the
TEDS following a Type/Length/Value (TLV) data structure.
An Identification header with the size and a checksum control
field are also included. Each TEDS describes in detail different
aspects of a TIM or a transducer channel. The manufacturer
can decide which TEDS to include; however, some of the supported TEDS are mandatory. The META-TED describes the
TIM, providing the number of transducer channels, how they
are associated and access timing. For each transducer channel,
a TRANSDUCERCHANNEL TEDS should be available, describing all of the required information needed to completely

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	43
1094-6969/20/$25.00©2020IEEE



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