WISENET is a wireless sensor network that monitors the environmental conditions such as light, temperature, and humidity. This network is comprised of nodes called “motes” that form an ad-hoc network to transmit this data to a computer that function as a server. The server stores the data in a database where it can later be retrieved and analyzed via a web-based interface. The network works successfully with an implementation of one sensor mote
The first goal of WISENET is to create a new hardware platform to take advantage of newer microcontrollers with greater functionality and more features. This involves selecting the hardware, designing the motes, and porting TinyOS. Once the platform is completed and TinyOS was ported to it, the next stage is to use this platform to create a small-scale system of wireless networked sensors.
Wireless sensor-actuator networks can provide the ability to continuously monitor the integrity of structures in real-time, detect damage at an early stage, and provide robustness in the case of catastrophic failures with a fraction of cost associated with today’s wired networks. However, sensor-actuator networks require a new paradigm of computing—one, which explicitly addresses less capable hardware, unreliable communication with, limited bandwidth, and severe energy constraints. The algorithms and software tools will facilitate monitoring and protection of civil structures using such networks.
Smart environments represent the next evolutionary development step in building, utilities, industrial, home, shipboard, and transportation systems automation. Like any sentient organism, the smart environment relies first and foremost on sensory data from the real world. Sensory data comes from multiple sensors of different modalities in distributed locations. The smart environment needs information about its surroundings as well as about its internal workings; this is captured in biological systems by the distinction between exteroceptors and proprioceptors.
The challenges in the hierarchy of: detecting the relevant quantities, monitoring and collecting the data, assessing and evaluating the information, formulating meaningful user displays, and performing decision-making and alarm functions are enormous. The information needed by smart environments is provided by Distributed Wireless Sensor Networks, which are responsible for sensing as well as for the first stages of the processing hierarchy. The importance of sensor networks is highlighted by the number of recent funding initiatives, including the DARPA SENSIT program, military programs, and NSF Program Announcements.
The figure shows the complexity of wireless sensor networks, which generally consist of a data acquisition network and a data distribution network, monitored and controlled by a management center. The plethora of available technologies makes even the selection of components difficult, let alone the design of a consistent, reliable, robust overall system.
The study of wireless sensor networks is challenging in that it requires an enormous breadth of knowledge from an enormous variety of disciplines. In this chapter we outline communication networks, wireless sensor networks and smart sensors, physical transduction principles, commercially available wireless sensor systems, selforganization, signal processing and decision-making, and finally some concepts for home automation
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