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Proceedings Paper

Development of an unattended ground sensor array using piezoresistive sensors
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Paper Abstract

This paper discusses the development of an Unattended Ground Sensor based on an array of pressure sensors designed to be buried in the ground. This sensor array, along with the required software (still under development), will have the ability to distinguish between humans and animals based on the size and shape of the foot print. The technology may also be applied to determine the weight and type of vehicle traveling on a road. The sensor array consists of pressure sensitive resistors (piezoresistors) on 0.8 inch centers printed on a sheet of polyimide film. Although very large arrays might one day be screen printed, the arrays for this study have been printed using a syringe dispenser and a precision x-y computer controlled table. For the preliminary development, the array has been sized to 8X10 inches. The piezoresistive properties of the sensors are discussed and preliminary test data is presented. It is shown that the piezoresistive gauge factor (ΔR/R/ΔL/L) is roughly 10 times that of conventional metal strain gauges. Because the change in resistance is large compared to metal strain gauges, lower cost electronics can be used. The small net size and low mass enables sensing elements with fast response time. The fact that these piezoresistive elements are directly printed, as opposed to being adhesively attached to a surface, eliminates many of the issues associated with bonded discrete sensors. It is anticipated that the piezoresistive sensor approach presented in this paper will be well suited to extremely rugged environmental conditions compared to the commercially available sensor arrays which rely on surface contact resistance or capacitive sensors which can be easily destroyed by moisture. Environmental testing will be done in a future phase of the project. The final system, which is still under development, will consist of a sensor array, information processing, and RF signal transmission. The system is anticipated to be low cost and environmentally rugged.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2009
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7333, Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications XI, 733316 (5 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.817276
Show Author Affiliations
Kelly Lee, Infotonics Technology Ctr. (United States)
Neelam Gupta, Army Research Lab. (United States)
Ronald B. Sartain, Army Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7333:
Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications XI
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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