Embedded System for Construction Material Tracking Using Combination of Radio Frequency and Ultrasound Signal

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This study created a framework for integrating the latest innovations in wireless sensor network that automate tracking and monitoring construction assets, e.g. equipment, materials, and labor in construction sites. This research constitutes one of the few studies to incorporate emerging information and sensor network technologies with the construction industry, which has been slow to migrate away from legacy processes.

The presented research works introduce a new prototype framework of an automated tracking system that will address the needed shift from the time-and labor-intensive legacy systems to sensor- and network-based collaboration and communication systems for construction processes. Software and hardware architecture for the new tracking system was developed using the combination of ultrasound and radio signals. By embedding the external ultrasound device with a MICAZ platform, enhancements to networking flexibility and wireless communication was observed over the previous technologies used in the construction material tracking systems. Feasibility study and testbed experiment on the position estimation were implemented to verify the localization algorithm presented in this dissertation.

Cost benefit analysis based on quantitative approach implied that the presented framework can save the implementation cost of material tracking by up to 64 percent in a typical construction project. In addition to cost savings, the use of sensor-based tracking system can provide the intangible, comprehensive benefits in communication, labor utilization, document management, and resource management.

It is hoped that the present work will describe a system that can effectively be used in a range of applications for tracking and monitoring purposes and will present a clear path that engineers can take to use existing wireless sensor technology in their particular applications. The cost of such hardware will decrease rapidly, thereby permitting large numbers of application scenarios to be possible in many construction sites with improved energy consumption, hardware performance, durability, and safety.