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BlockSense – A Beginning

BlockSense is a project inspired by digital construction innovation and blockchain technology. This blogspace will be used to log all activity relating to BlockSense. A mix of technical and general information around the developers and development of the project. Hopefully there will be many more to come as the project grows. This first entry covers how BlockSense came to exist and where it hopes go in the future.

Having spent time developing a fibre optic prototype sensor during university, structural health monitoring (SHM) concepts and its underlying technologies were explored. Analog to digital (ADC) functions introduced a way of quantifying real life events into usable data. SMART sensors and wireless networks were areas of interest whilst going forward with research and development but were not the main focus of the study. Notably, ideas around external and in-situ solutions were often discussed and how low powered embedded devices running across wireless networks would benefit SHM functions. The end result was a basic displacement sensor prototype that made use of fibre optics and various emitters, receivers and optical filters (Polydimethylsiloxane membranes) to investigate sensitivity and sampling techniques.

Concepts around SHM sparked an interest into how data was being managed in general within the Engineering industry. Grasping the concept of SMART infrastructure and digital construction, it became clear that projects and the industry as a whole are benefitting from new data collection and analysis practices. The Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction are an example of better asset management through data analysis and smart decision making within the UK.As part of a final group project, the opportunity to explore smart infrastructure and digital construction presented itself once again with the design of an aquatics centre. Ideas around justifying implementation of various monitoring systems during construction phases and serviceability help promote and track performance and sustainability goals. These use cases utilizing BlockSense will be outlined in future posts.

Involvement with cryptographic currency projects over the years raised awareness to its benefits as a financial tools. Security, data integrity and its linear blockchain framework have been the foundation of many innovative services in recent years. Its functions beyond financial and value transmitting uses became a point of interest as provably prunable/unspendable outputs were introduced.

Reading through Construction 2025 HM Government 2013 confirmed that the industry would welcome innovations for digital construction. With these ideas in mind, BlockSense was created to innovate the way data is handled within the construction industry. A distributed databank for the industry that would allow sensors to transmit data to the blockchain in real time and give the ability to access and use this data at any time or place.

BlockSense hopes to grow and optimize itself for integration into all construction based data collection practices via configurable deployment services. Transparency, privacy and data integrity are valuable tools when dealing with smart infrastructures. The ultimate goal is to create a platform that will allow the industry to reference their data sets by referring to data on the blockchain. As development continues and adoption increases, a number of innovative systems will form a unified network of data and knowledge.

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