San Diego - In mid-May, an multidisciplinary group of researchers
from UCSD deployed an ad hoc network of cameras and other sensors
on Coronado Bridge. They were linked via high-speed wireless to a
makeshift control center in the Computer Vision and Robotics Research
laboratory in the SERF building on the UCSD campus. The goal: demonstrate
a single monitoring system that could be used simultaneously by academic
researchers and agencies as diverse as Caltrans, SPAWAR and the U.S.
Jacobs School of Engineering
temporary installation was part of an ongoing effort at UCSD to
focus sensor network research to respond to the heightened
interest in technology for emergency preparedness, including homeland
security. "It's really the multi-use of these sensors and the
synchronized data transmission," said Frieder Seible, interim
dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering and principal investigator
on the project. "We can look at everything as a whole in a
holistic approach--what's going on on the bridge, and really using
it not just for dumb engineering data, but also for security monitoring
of important structures."
monitoring equipment was installed at Pier 14, on the bridge's understructure,
roughly 200 feet above sea level. "The bridge is entirely wirelessly
connected from Coronado Bridge to Mount Soledad and from there to
UCSD," said Hans-Werner Braun, a senior researcher at the San
Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and director of the High Performance
Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN). "On the bridge
itself the wireless hub is surrounded by Ethernet connected devices."
from UCSD's Structural Engineering Department and the Scripps
of Oceanography deployed two seismic EpiSensors and two accelerometers
to gauge the extent of movement on the bridge in the face of earthquakes--or
even heavier-than-usual traffic. They also installed two digital high-resolution
(3 megapixel) still cameras that are also viewable over the Internet.
Researchers from the Jacobs School's Electrical and Computer Engineering
department put up an omni-directional 360º camera and a standard
video camera and web server. Meanwhile, SDSC researchers used off-the-shelf
802.11b high-speed wireless technology to get the seismic and visual
data captured by the sensors to the HPWREN which then transmitted
the data through its 45 megabit per second backbone to its facility
on Mount Soledad 12 miles away. The data was then sent 3 miles to
the supercomputer center, and from there to the control center inside
the computer vision lab on campus.
Diego Supercomputer Center
Eletrical & Computer Engineering
result: multiple streams of data from half a dozen sensors on the
transmitted simultaneously and wirelessly at very high speeds. Researchers
and invited guests were instantly able to view and aggregate different
data sets over the Internet in real time. "We have at a remote
site, multiple cameras, multiple sensors and structural monitoring
sensors, all of them utilizing a high-bandwidth wireless backbone,"
said Mohan Trivedi, professor of electrical and computer engineering
and the Cal-(IT)² layer leader in charge of "intelligent
transportation and telematics" research at UCSD. "Meanwhile, at a completely
different location, they all converge and we can have a control
room type of experience."
with televiewing-viewing from a remote location--Trivedi's omni-directional
camera allows someone in the command center to zero in on a small
craft a mile away, while someone else is using the same 360-degree
video feed to monitor the bridge's own bearings. Computer vision
and pattern recognition technology also allow a computer to automatically
process what is visible and "watch" for possible danger
Jacobs School dean Seible: "We can monitor and see formations
and compare one image to the next image-this is pattern recognition-and
when we see a change we can send an alarm."
Institution of Oceanography
Frieder Seible wants for the structural part are the same types
of signals I want for seismic monitoring," noted Frank Vernon,
a senior researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. The data from seismic
sensors on the bridge can also be integrated with the output of
cameras, resulting according to Vernon, in "one data stream.
Also integrated into the same data stream is photo imagery, taken
every 15 seconds. This has never been done before. This is the first
time we've ever tried these two types of imagery together. So, one,
it gives us a view of how the pier is moving, and the other, what
the bearing looked like."
sensors and wireless technology worked flawlessly, effectively demonstrating
the feasibility of multi-use, multimedia networked monitoring systems.
Concluded HPWREN's Braun: "If people from Caltrans or SPAWAR
or other institutions determine there is real value, then all of
us need to sit down and design a real system. At that time, wireless
is probably just one piece of it."
same cameras that maintain a security perimeter around Coronado
Bridge and nearby Navy assets, could also be used to monitor the
main shipping channel for the Coast Guard. Researchers also see
extending the network with environmental sensors to monitor air
and water quality for pollution as well as biological or chemical
weapons. And the same type of cameras to monitor ship and structural
activity could allow computers to "watch" and analyze
traffic patterns on the bridge-and automatically alert a human operator
in the event of a problem.
investigators say, the next stage is to discuss the added value
of such systems, and if possible, produce an end-product that serves
the specific needs of various agencies while also fitting into UCSD's
own research parameters.