Realizing a Self-powered Real-time Monitoring System on High-speed Trains



The development of the worldwide high-speed rail network is expanding at a rapid pace, imposing great challenges on the operation safety. Recent advances in wireless communications and information technology can integrate the Internet of Things and cloud computing to form a real-time monitoring platform of high-speed trains. To realize this system, a sustainable power source is indispensable. In this case, an ideal solution is to deploy a vibration-based energy harvester instead of batteries for the electrical supply of wireless sensors/devices, as vibrations induced by rail/wheel contact forces and vehicle dynamics are an abundant energy source. To address this challenge, a multi-stable, broadband and tri-hybrid energy harvesting technique was recently proposed, which can work well under low-frequency, low-amplitude, and time-varying ambient sources. In this work, we will introduce our idea, following the recently proposed energy harvester and the dynamic responses of a train vehicle, to design a self-sustained sensing system on trains. Supported by this self-powered system, accelerometers and microphones deployed on an in-service train (in axle boxes/bogie frames) can measure vibration and noise data directly. The correlation of the vibration and noise data can then be analyzed simultaneously to identify the dynamic behavior (e.g., wheel defects) of a moving train.