Force Estimation and Event Localization using Structural Vibrations


Reference #: 01180

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for an algorithm for force estimation and localization of impacts to any structure.

Invention Description:

The subject invention enables location and force estimation of an impact anywhere within/on a structure (e.g. office building), using an algorithm that analyzes vibrations caused by an impact.

Advantages and Benefits:

The algorithm for FEEL (force estimation and event localization) offers a number of advantages including:

  1. Accurate estimation (99% confidence interval that force is within -2% +/- 1.3%) of an impact force can be done without load cells or the need for expensive sensor equipment to be in close proximity to an impact;
  2. Location of an impact can be determined accurately (96.4% success in trials) without expensive pressure pads covering a structure or the need for expensive sensor equipment being in proximity to an impact;
  3. Sensors can be placed anywhere in a structure, removing the distance between impact and sensor challenges of other methods;
  4. Time synchronization of sensors is not needed, as FEEL implicitly accounts for the phase of signals, which lowers computation cost and reduces errors compared to other methods that require it;
  5. Sensor network sizes are easily scalable;
  6. Requires only two accelerometers to work (which is fewer sensors than triangulation methods require)

Potential Applications:

Since the algorithm is general and can address many of the issues found in estimating and localizing forces on any structure, there are many products that it can replace. FEEL minimizes the number of sensors needed while eliminating the need for time synchronized acceleration data and issues relating to sensor proximity to an impact in order to locate impacts or estimate forces.


This is a fundamental technology that can be used in any application that requires low-cost, high-accuracy force estimation or event localization. It could apply to tracking repeated impacts or impacts from damage or any event that causes a vibration to occur in a structure of any kind.


The method has been tested and validated, showing high accuracy of the algorithms.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Benjamin Davis
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