Health and usage monitoring as a technique for online test, diagnosis or prognosis of structures and systems has evolved as a key technology for future critical systems. The technology, often referred to as HUMS is usually based around sensors that must be more reliable than the system or structure they are monitoring. This paper proposes a fault tolerant sensor architecture and demonstrates the feasibility of realising this architecture through the design of a dual mode humidity/pressure MEMS sensor with an integrated temperature function. The sensor has a simple structure, good linearity and sensitivity, and the potential for implementation of built-in-self-test features. We also propose a re-configurable sensor network based on the multi-functional sensor concept that supports both normal operational and fail safe modes. The architecture has the potential to significantly increase system reliability and supports a reduction in the number of sensors required in future HUMS devices. The technique has potential in a wide range of applications, especially within wireless sensor networks.
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