Intelligent sensor technology and systems are increasingly becoming attractive means to serve as frameworks for intelligent rocket test facilities with embedded intelligent sensor elements, distributed data acquisition elements, and onboard data acquisition elements. Networked intelligent processors enable users and systems integrators to automatically configure their measurement automation systems for analog sensors. NASA and leading sensor vendors are working together to apply the IEEE 1451 standard for adding plug-and-play capabilities for wireless analog transducers through the use of a Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) in order to simplify sensor setup, use, and maintenance, to automatically obtain calibration data, and to eliminate manual data entry and error.

A TEDS contains the critical information needed by an instrument or measurement system to identify, characterize, interface, and properly use the signal from an analog sensor. A TEDS is deployed for a sensor in one of two ways. First, the TEDS can reside in embedded, nonvolatile memory (typically flash memory) within the intelligent processor. Second, a virtual TEDS can exist as a separate file, downloadable from the Internet. This concept of virtual TEDS extends the benefits of the standardized TEDS to legacy sensors and applications where the embedded memory is not available. An HTML-based user interface provides a visual tool to interface with those distributed sensors that a TEDS is associated with, to automate the sensor management process.

Implementing and deploying the IEEE 1451.1-based Network-Capable Application Process (NCAP) can achieve support for intelligent process in Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM) for the purpose of monitoring, detection of anomalies, diagnosis of causes of anomalies, prediction of future anomalies, mitigation to maintain operability, and integrated awareness of system health by the operator. It can also support local data collection and storage. This invention enables wide-area sensing and employs numerous globally distributed sensing devices that observe the physical world through the existing sensor network. This innovation enables distributed storage, distributed processing, distributed intelligence, and the availability of DiaK (Data, Information, and Knowledge) to any element as needed. It also enables the simultaneous execution of multiple processes, and represents models that contribute to the determination of the condition and health of each element in the system.

The NCAP (intelligent process) can configure data-collection and filtering processes in reaction to sensed data, allowing it to decide when and how to adapt collection and processing with regard to sophisticated analysis of data derived from multiple sensors. The user will be able to view the sensing device network as a single unit that supports a high-level query language. Each query would be able to operate over data collected from across the global sensor network just as a search query encompasses millions of Web pages.

The sensor web can preserve ubiquitous information access between the querier and the queried data. Pervasive monitoring of the physical world raises significant data and privacy concerns. This innovation enables different authorities to control portions of the sensing infrastructure, and sensor service authors may wish to compose services across authority boundaries.

This work was done by Fernando Figueroa, Jon Morris, and Mark Turowski of Stennis Space Center and Ray Wang of Mobitrum Corp. Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to:

Ray Wang Mobitrum Corporation 8070 Georgia Avenue; Suite 209 Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301) 585-4040

Refer to SSC-00313/5.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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