Title

Acoustic wireless sensing for environmental monitoring

Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science

School

School of Engineering

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Associate Professor Adam Osseiran

Abstract

The European House Borer (EHB) is a timber pest which attacks dead timber. This pest can cause large scale damage to wooden structures and has already spread throughout many parts of the world. The larvae usually remains undetected for many years while it busily inflicts irrevocable and substantial harm to the timber. Since the pest was first discovered in Western Australia in 2004 the Government has endeavoured to extinguish its existence. In this research, an electronic sensor has been developed in order to detect the presence of EHB larvae in timber. Only an accurate detection can allow for selective treatment, which is required in order to eliminate the pest. In the past no reliable detection methods were available. However, with the developed acoustic sensing device, non-destructive and reliable detection of EHB is now possible. The developed handheld device is capable of analysing the acoustic emissions from a timber structure which allows for determining whether or not EHB is present in its vicinity. Depending on the level of the infestation, the detection can take as little as a few seconds. The tests, which have been carried out on infested timber beams in a secured laboratory, show a reliable detection of the larvae over a distance of several metres. The research discusses the challenges encountered throughout the development of the acoustic sensor and the limitations of the technology. Also presented are other potential applications for the device and areas which require further research in order to improve the efficiency of the sensor.

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