Infrasound in wildfire

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Duration: Spring 2018 - Fall 2018
Team Name Team infrasound
Team Members:
  • Braydon Campbell
  • Mitch Patterson
  • Stephen Weeks
  • Yuhang You
  • Project Overview[edit]


    • It has recently been found that large wildfires generate infrasonic waves that can be detected by infrasound observatories.
    • Advances in measurement technology has made it possible for measuring devices that are both portables and inexpensive.

    Problem Statement[edit]

    • Design a deployable self sustaining package that can continuously measure infrasonic wave data at 2kHz/s and transmit that data wirelessly.
    • The package must be able to operate for 3 months without relying on existing power infrastructure.

    Deliverables & Specifications[edit]

    • Battery powered with possible solar generation and power switching technology
    • Wireless access to measure and upload data within 6 hours
    • Lora to cell tower or Zigby to cell tower
    • Possible chain network to increase range from package to communication infrastructure
    • GPS time sync stored with data
    • Prototype must cost under $1000
    • Portable package for one person to carry
    • Error correction on transmitted data
    • Possible command signals from control cente


    Currently as a group we have pinpointed our design constraints, what we want the system to do and what we believe will be an engineering solution for the project at hand. We have found that the major issue within our project will be power consumption, since we will not be relying on any major infrastructure to power our system we need to be able to run it for a couple of months. We have also found that for the communication we have to piggyback on the cell towers to connect to the internet. This will require setting up a 3G/4G/LTE network for the system. We currently are researching what this will take to communicate. In the near future we are wanting to learn how to pull data from the sensor using only an RP-3B and write/send that data in a readable format. This will involve setting up a daisy chained network, using Xbee or Zigbee, to send the data long distance. Our future goals is to set up and have testing of the communication network with the sensor data collection incorporated. We will continue to try to find solutions to the power issue and how we will power the entire design system. Future plans will look into green energy, DC-DC conversion, and restrictions of 3G/4G/LTE network communication.


  • 3x Raspberry Pi 3B = $145.32
  • SD Cards 8 GB = $27.92
  • 2x ADS1015 12-bit ADC = $25.10
  • MCP3008-I/P 10-bit ADC = $7.80
  • Sample and hold integrated circuit =$40
  • Waste =$25.1
  • 2x Xbee Pro S3B = $78.00
  • 4x protoboard =$18.00
  • 2x dipole antenna =$18
  • 2x Digi Xbee-Pro shield = $24.00
  • USB to time to live cable= $9.9
  • GPS breakout =$39.95
  • 4x Yaggi antenna =$188.92
  • shipping cost =$36.59
  • Tax =$11.34
  • Total cost =$695.94
  • Design[edit]


    Infrasound sensor
    The IFS-5000 Seismically Decoupled Infrasound Sensor is the result of years of research, development and testing of infrasound sensors by leading scientists in the field of infrasound acoustics . The IFS-5000 series is available in both analog and digital versions and provide excellent relative seismic sensitivity, thermal sensitivity and and sensor-to-sensor amplitude and phase matching . The IFS-5000 sensors have been designed and tested to provide reliable and durable performance for prolonged field installations . The attributes along with low initial and recurring costs allow array installations in cases where such applications were cost prohibitive in the past .
    raspberry pi
    Raspberry Pi as a world’s most inexpensive and powerful Single Board Computer. This is world’s cheapest microprocessor unit specially built for learner and makers. We can easily learn how software and hardware work together without been worrying about damage/cost. We can buy Raspberry Pi board with just somewhere around 35$. The cost of Pi allows newbies to celebrate mistakes and learn most out of it. Also Raspberry Pi has a huge community and plenty of online resources which make learning smooth.
    MCP 3008 ADC
    The MCP3008 10-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) combines high performance and low power consumption in a small package, making it ideal for embedded control applications. The MCP3008 features a successive approximation register (SAR) architecture and an industry-standard SPI serial interface, allowing 10-bit ADC capability to be added to any PIC® microcontroller. The MCP3008 features 200k samples/second, 8 input channels, low power consumption (5nA typical standby, 425µA typical active), and is available in 16-pin PDIP and SOIC packages. Applications for the MCP3008 include data acquisition, instrumentation and measurement, multi-channel data loggers, industrial PCs, motor control, robotics, industrial automation, smart sensors, portable instrumentation and home medical appliances.
    Yaggi antenna
    A Yagi antenna is a directional type antenna with a single dipole, a reflector, and multiple elements. Yagi antennas can be used for point to point or point to multi-point WiFi applications.
    XBee pro S3B module
    XBee is a module produced by Digi International mainly use as a radio communication transceiver and receiver.PRO module is the power-amplified version of XBee module with 100 mW power. XBee normally is used in conjuction with Arduino hardware.

    System design[edit]

    Flow diagram1.png
     Flow diagram2.png

    Communication Module[edit]

    • Used Xbee’s XTCU program to establish communication with a PC and a raspberry pi
    • Established communication between two raspberry pi’s with serial commands
    • Set up LEDs to confirm a communication link was established
    • Confirmed voltage regulator functionality with digital multimeter

    Block diagram[edit]

    The block diagram shown presents our current plan for data communication from the infrasonic sensor back to the control center.The infrasonic measurement device will stream its differential voltage measurements to the raspberry pi from which the pi will digitize and communicate that data through an attached LoRa module. Additional raspberry pis will be placed in between the measurement device and 4G communication infrastructure to form a connected daisy chain to increase the operational distance of the infrasonic device.The final raspberry pi will communicate the measured data through a local cell tower via a 3G/4G shield module. The upload data will be stored back at the control center.

    Hardware verification[edit]

    Sample and hold. Used function generator with oscilloscope to ensure sample and hold functionality with raspberry pi
    Signal input.Used function generator and oscilloscope used to check ADC operation with raspberry pi
    ADC reading.PNG
    ADC bit error. Found noise floor of the sensor to determine acceptable step size and bit error


    Top Right Photo credit: Stacy Isenbarger

    Team Information[edit]

    Biography Discipline
    Mitch Patternson

    He is studying Electrical Engineering and is hoping to graduate in the spring of 2019. His interests are backpacking and cross-country skiing. The emphasis of his studies have been microelectronics and signals which is what attracted him to this project.

    Electrical Engineering.
    Stephen Weeks

    His interest in sub-discipline is embedded systems, digital system design, hardware design, and signals processing. He has experience in op-amp design, digital design, embedded programming, and side projects including Arduino and FPGA design flow as well as working experience with digital signal processing. He has a strong interest in power regulation, communications systems, bio-wearable devices and smart devices, including self-learning electronics.

    Electrical Engineering
    Braydon Campbell
    Senior desgin.jpg

    Thorough experience in various disciplines that include digital design, embedded programming in both FPGAs and microcontrollers, microelectronic design, and statistical analysis. Career experience includes test development engineering intern at On Semiconductor. There he statistically correlated image capture boards that are used to test photo image capturing silicon devices, resolved wafer fallout issues, and established cost-efficient test protocols.

    Electrical Engineering
    Yuhang You

    He is a transfer and senior student, and he is trying to apply a UI master degree.

    Electrical Engineering

    Documentation Archive[edit]

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