An advanced optical sensor for measuring the displacement of civil infrastructure

Case ID:

An advanced optical sensor for measuring the displacement of civil infrastructure


Damage to civil infrastructure due to earthquake or seismic activity is a concern in a number of different countries including China, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Japan, Peru, and the United States. Across the world, more than two billion people live in danger zones, and many of them in structures not built to withstand an earthquake. In the United States, about half the states and territories are exposed to risks from seismic hazards which includes more than 109 million people and 4.3 million businesses. Two key factors in the structural health monitoring market are government regulations pertaining to the sustainability of structures and aging infrastructures, and structural health monitoring emerging as a prerequisite for new infrastructure. Individuals and businesses can be spared further harm after an earthquake if there are rapid methods of monitoring and transmitting the data of different structural parameters such as damage detection, crack detection, corrosion monitoring, strain monitoring, and impact monitoring.


Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have invented a novel method for measuring transient and residual interstory drift using an optical sensor and mesh communication network. The proposed optically-based technology provides a pathway to accurate, direct measurement of building drift that will inform building stakeholders for rapid key decision making related to emergency response and continuity of occupancy and operations for critical facilities such as hospitals, financial/data centers, essential operation/business centers and hazardous material repositories.


  1. Rapid and reliable extraction of time-critical data
  2. Interstory drift measurement errors in the sub-millimeter range
  3. Use of wireless communication nodes allowing sensors to form a self-configuring and self-healing mesh network
  4. Use of a software design that can automatically generate and send emails containing key response data and data plots to selected stakeholders


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ray Siripirom
Senior Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
David McCallen
Patrick Laplace
Floriana Petrone
Construction & Built Environment