Smartphones Revolutionize Bridge Health Monitoring: Crowdsourced Data Unlocks Key Insights

Smartphones as Infrastructure Health Monitors: Leveraging Crowdsourced Data


Smartphones have transformed daily life with their myriad sensors, including accelerometers. The widespread use of smartphones presents an opportunity to tap into this data for monitoring the health of infrastructure, such as bridges.

Method and Findings

Researchers created an Android app (Good Vibrations) that records smartphone data while users drive or walk over specified infrastructure. The data includes acceleration, location, and orientation. By analyzing this data, the researchers were able to extract absolute mode shapes (AMSs) of bridges. AMSs represent the spatial vibration characteristics of a bridge and are sensitive to structural damage.

The researchers collected data from four distinct bridges using three types of controllability environments (controlled, partially controlled, and uncontrolled). The results demonstrated the accuracy of the proposed method across all cases, as measured by modal assurance criteria (MAC) values of 0.94 and above. This indicates that the data from crowdsourced smartphone trips can effectively identify AMSs of existing bridges.

Implications and Applications

The ability to identify AMSs opens up several important possibilities for bridge health monitoring:

  • Damage Identification: AMSs are sensitive to changes in the structural integrity of a bridge, making them useful for damage identification. By comparing AMSs over time, it is possible to detect potential damage or deterioration.
  • Real-time Monitoring: The continuous collection of smartphone data enables real-time monitoring of bridge dynamics. This data can be used to track the response of a bridge to environmental factors, such as temperature fluctuations or wind loads.
  • Automated Alarm Systems: By integrating damage detection algorithms with the AMS analysis, it is possible to create automated alarm systems that notify bridge owners of potential problems. This can lead to timely interventions and prevent catastrophic failures.

Scalability and Sustainability

The proposed method is highly scalable. The Good Vibrations app can be easily deployed on a large number of smartphones, and the cloud-based data processing platform can handle the vast amounts of data generated. Moreover, the method is sustainable as it does not require additional hardware or sensor networks to be installed on the bridges.


The study demonstrates the potential of crowdsourced smartphone data for monitoring the health of infrastructure. The proposed method offers a cost-effective and accurate way to identify AMSs, which can be used for damage identification, real-time monitoring, and automated alarm systems. By leveraging the ubiquitous use of smartphones, infrastructure owners can gain valuable insights into the condition of their bridges and ensure their safety and longevity.

also read:Top Smartphone Selfie Cameras Revealed: Xiaomi Honor OnePlus Tecno Lead the Pack

By Deepika

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