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Sensor Design and Development

The design and development of low-cost and high-performing IoT sensors for detecting natural and human data hold immense importance in today's interconnected world. These sensors enable the collection of real-time data related to various natural phenomena such as weather patterns, air quality, and environmental conditions, providing valuable insights for scientific research, urban planning, and disaster management. By making IoT sensors affordable, it becomes feasible to deploy them on a large scale, allowing for comprehensive data collection across diverse geographical areas.


 With the increasing threat of climate change, low-cost IoT sensors can help in monitoring and mitigating the impact of natural disasters, allowing for early detection and timely response to events such as floods, earthquakes, or wildfires. These sensors can empower individuals and communities by providing them with access to real-time data about their environment, helping them make informed choices about their daily routines, energy consumption, and health and safety measures. The affordability and high performance of IoT sensors also open up opportunities for developing countries and underserved communities to benefit from the advantages of smart technologies, bridging the digital divide and fostering sustainable development.


However low-cost sensors have faced criticism for their limited accuracy and reliability compared to higher-priced sensors. Their affordability is relative and may still be out of reach for certain users, particularly in developing countries or resource-constrained environments. Additionally, the emphasis on low-cost sensors may hinder technological advancements and discourage the development of more accurate and sophisticated sensing technologies. Inconsistencies in quality control and potential maintenance costs further contribute to the overall unaffordability of these sensors.


Therefore having understood the critical role of low-cost IoT sensors can play, especially in managing disasters and crises, the CRISiSLab aims to conduct research on making such sensors more accurate and affordable to everyone.

Development of a commercially viable ground motion detection sensor prototype affordable for community-based earthquake information solutions, education and outreach.

Due to the limitations of low-cost Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) -based ground motion sensors currently available in the market and the resultant bottlenecks in relation to the applications such as community-engaged EEW, school outreach and competitions, there is a clear need and demand for developing an affordable, yet technically advanced sensor.  Further, the sensor applications also support the ongoing research work conducted by the CRISiSLab. In such a context in this research project, we aim to develop a high-performing low-cost ground motion detection sensor unit embedded with considerable processing capability which is affordable for the public and other potential end-users. 

Led by: Raj Prasanna 

Status: Ongoing 



Johnston, D., Kaiser, L., Mestel, E., Illsley-Kemp, F., Tapuke, K., Smith, B., ... & Stewart, J. (2021). Improving earthquake resilience in the Taupō Volcanic Zone (TVZ) using school-based seismometers and connected education programmes. Proceedings of the 2021 New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Annual Technical Conference.

Chandrakumar, C., Prasanna, R., Stephens, M. (2022). An ecosystem of low-cost sensors toward earthquake early Warning: An earthquake early warning system with multi-sensor capability. QuakeCoRE Annual Meeting, Napier, New Zealand.

Chandrakumar, C., Prasanna, R., Stephens, M., Tan, M.L. (2022). Earthquake early warning systems based on low-cost ground motion sensors: A systematic literature review. Frontiers in Sensors.

Other Research Themes

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