Scalable Network of Low-Cost, Self-Powered Wireless Sensors For Commercial Buildings

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Microstrain, Inc.
459 Hurricane Lane, Suite 102
Williston, VT 05495
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Conventional indoor environmental monitoring technologies are expensive, cumbersome to install and maintain, and do not provide the distributed granularity required to capture the necessary details for efficient energy management of commercial buildings. Developments in wireless sensor networks (WSN) provide substantial framework for monitoring and addressing indoor environments at scale. However, wireless monitoring devices continue to face significant technical and commercial limitations associated with their cost/capability ratio as well as their networks inability to constructively integrate user-experience feedback from building occupants. MicroStrain proposes a distributed wireless network of highly miniaturized, self-powered sensing devices that integrate novel person-as-a-sensor feedback channels with microelectromechanical (MEM) indoor environmental sensors on a cloud-based data exchange. Network components will integrate with building monitoring systems (BMS), and address the DOE $20/unit installed target. Miniature sensing nodes will achieve autonomous operation with embedded ambient light energy harvesting capabilities, and demonstrated at scale (5000 nodes) in the proposers 30,000 square foot office/manufacturing facility. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Commercialization of a low-cost, highly-distributed indoor environmental monitoring technology promises significant resources for building operators to understand ventilation, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and thereby reduce energy consumption, avoid emissions, and realize cost- savings. Furthermore, providing a quality, clean ambient environment for building occupants has been proven to considerably influence their health and work productivity.1 Benefits will be recognized by a broad range of commercial building operator markets including office, retail, hospitality services, healthcare, educational, federal, and military. Other applications include shipboard environmental monitoring and mobile surgical units (MSU).