Natural Hazard Monitoring and On-Device Classification


In natural hazard warning systems fast decision making is vital to avoid catastrophes. Decision making at the edge of a wireless sensor network promises fast response times but is limited by the availability of energy, data transfer speed, processing and memory constraints. In this work we present a realization of a wireless sensor network for hazard monitoring based on an array of event-triggered single-channel micro-seismic sensors with advanced signal processing and characterization capabilities based on a novel co-detection technique. On the one hand we leverage an ultra-low power, threshold-triggering circuit paired with on-demand digital signal acquisition capable of extracting relevant information exactly and efficiently at times when it matters most and consequentially not wasting precious resources when nothing can be observed. On the other hand we utilize machine-learning-based classification implemented on low-power, off-the-shelf microcontrollers to avoid false positive warnings and to actively identify humans in hazard zones. The sensors' response time and memory requirement is substantially improved by quantizing and pipelining the inference of a convolutional neural network. In this way, convolutional neural networks that would not run unmodified on a memory constrained device can be executed in real-time and at scale on low-power embedded devices. A field study with our system is running on the rockfall scarp of the Matterhorn Hörnligrat at 3500 m a.s.l. since 08/2018.