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Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

Systems and System Design

Examples of Systems

  1. Jonas Meyer,
  2. Reinhard Bischoff,
  3. Glauco Feltrin

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470061626.shm123

Encyclopedia of Structural Health Monitoring

Encyclopedia of Structural Health Monitoring

How to Cite

Meyer, J., Bischoff, R. and Feltrin, G. 2009. Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS). Encyclopedia of Structural Health Monitoring. .

Author Information

  1. Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, Structural Engineering Research Laboratory, Empa, Dübendorf, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009


Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors are small, generally low power, highly integrated, and, usually, very cheap. These qualities enable the deployment of structural health monitoring (SHM) systems with a large number of sensors, partly integrated into the structure, at affordable costs. MEMS sensors are often used in wireless sensor networks (WSNs), a monitoring technology that heavily bases its features and performance on low-power sensors.

This article briefly describes a MEMS-based wireless sensor network that is designed for long-term structural health monitoring applications. Since WSN nodes are battery powered, in long-term monitoring applications the power management of the network significantly influences the overall data handling processes. In WSN, data communication is the most energy-consuming task, hence, transferring all the acquired raw data through the network would dramatically reduce the lifetime of the system. A significant data reduction, which has to be achieved on the nodes, is a challenging task, since it has to be performed with very limited computing power and memory resources, and in competition with other tasks like data communication, self-organization, and time synchronization. These aspects are illustrated with tests on a cable stay bridge.


  • microelectromechanical systems;
  • MEMS;
  • wireless sensor network;
  • cable monitoring;
  • ambient vibrations