Scholarships to attend EWSN 2012 in Trento, Italy

The 9th European Conference on Wireless Sensor Networks (EWSN 2012, http://ewsn12.disi.unitn.it), with generous donations from the conference sponsors, offers scholarships to support students and researchers to attend the conference.

WHO SHOULD APPLY

Funding is available to graduate and doctoral students from any educational institution in the world. Applications from postdocs and researchers from
developing countries are also encouraged.

We expect to award a minimum of 6 scholarships. Of these, a minimum of 3 scholarships are expressly reserved for students (graduate and doctoral) from institutions belonging to the EIT ICT Labs (http://eit.ictlabs.eu) thanks to a specific sponsorship from TrentoRISE (http://www.trentorise.eu).

WHAT IS PROVIDED

Each scholarship covers the EWSN 2012 full conference registration plus one registration to a tutorial, and up to 700 EUR in support for accommodation and travel. The amount of support awarded is based on the cost estimate, submitted with the scholarship application; reimbursements are based on the actual travel and accommodation expenses, which will be arranged through the conference organization.

HOW TO APPLY

To apply, please send the following information via e-mail to ewsn-chairs@disi.unitn.it, either as part of the email or as a PDF attachment:

1. Name, email, mailing address, visa requirements
2. Name of the school or research center and whether affiliated with EIT
3. Current position (student, postdoc, faculty/researcher)
For students only:
a. Degree type (Master’s, PhD, …) pursued and field
b. Expected graduation date
c. Name and email of advisor
4. Expected expenses:
a. Specify type of travel (air, train, car) and cost
b. Specify number of nights in hotel and overall cost
5. Statement about why attending EWSN 2012 would benefit you (max. 1000
characters)

IMPORTANT DATES

Applications due: January 25, 2012 (midnight CET)
Notifications: January 27, 2012

ARM exec: standards are needed for the ‘internet of things’

The increase in the number of internet-connected devices is creating a wealth of possibilities for the future of technology, particularly in the context of the internet of things — also known as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

However, standards need to be firmly established before new services can truly flourish, according to Simon Segars, vice president of the ARM physical IP division.

“The biggest limitation is around standardisation of how these technologies are going to work together. All the building blocks are there, and it’s about putting them together. So, you need low power, small, low cost micro-controllers,” Segars told ZDNet UK at CES 2012. “We can do that, and it will get better over time,”he added.

Segars said that the challenge now is one of how each piece of technology is used, rather than needing advances in the technology itself.

“There’s an implementation challenge, all the technologies are different and how you mix-and-match those are hard problems that we’re trying to solve,” Segars said. “We’re looking at evolving those technologies, but really it’s all there today and people have got to start putting them together and working out those higher level services that are going to run on top of them.”

Smart meters, for example, already combine a range of technologies that need to be able to communicate with each other, Segars said.

“It has a controller in it, it has a communication link — how are all these things going to communicate [with other technologies], there are standards needed behind that,” Segars added. “What’s the security behind that? How’s all that going to work?”

More info here.

Google Joins IPSO Alliance, Along with Electronics-Maker Fujitsu

Technology leader Google has joined the IPSO Alliance, a group of technology companies with the common goal of promoting the Internet Protocol for smart object communications, allowing items ranging from appliances to factories to cars to “communicate” as individuals do over the Internet.

In addition to Google, top IT and technology manufacturing company Fujitsu has joined IPSO, alongside specialty electronics companies Elster Electric, Echelon Corp. and Augusta Systems.

The IPSO alliance now boasts 53 member companies, including BoschCiscoEricssonIntelSAPSun Microsystems andTexas Instruments.

“Google’s participation in IPSO is a result of its expectation that many devices will become part of the Internet environment,” saidVint Cerf, Google’s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist. “The IPv4 and IPv6 Internet protocols are well established and used for this purpose. Google’s PowerMeter application makes use of this idea to help Smart Grid users capture and analyze their energy usage information.”

The Google PowerMeter is a free online tool that allows users to view their homes’ energy usage. In coordination with their energy partners, including TXU Energy and San Diego Gas and Electric, Google is now able to bring real-time energy use information to the consumer, enabling individuals to lower their utility costs and prevent waste.

“The addition of Google, and its PowerMeter service, to the Alliance really completes the Smart Grid circle within IPSO,” explained Geoff Mulligan, Chairman of the IPSO Alliance. “Now, not only will consumers be able to use the products and services of IPSO Alliance member companies to connect their home to the grid, they also will be able to monitor how those appliances, and their entire home, are consuming energy.”

More info here.

WSN in Philosophical Transactions Journal

The January  2012 issue of the Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific journal, contains a summary of the field of wireless sensor networks, authored by leading researchers in the field. A paper by Prabal Dutta, University of Michigan, and Adam Dunkels, SICS, reviews the field of operating systems and network protocols for wireless sensor networks.

The table of contents of the January 2012 issue is available here.

Sensors help test structural integrity of Easton-Phillipsburg free bridge

Ten years ago, bridge inspections involved extensive preparation, closing traffic lanes and the educated guesses of an inspector.

Today, Lehigh University professor Shamim Pakzad is studying the use of wireless sensors to complete the same work with less hassle and more concrete data.

Pakzad compares using the sensors to checking vital signs in humans. They measure characteristics of a healthy bridge through different environmental factors to establish a baseline of normal fluctuations in vibrations, strain and temperature.

Inspectors can then compare baseline data with current numbers to determine whether the bridge is safe or unsafe, or to prompt a more thorough investigation of the bridge’s safety.

“In healthcare, you have a pain and you do x-rays, right?” Pakzad asked.

One of the bridges Pakzad and his students are studying with the sensors is the Easton-Phillipsburg free bridge, a portion of which was rebuilt and reopened in 1957 after severe damage from the 1955 flood. The group is still collecting data. Their next step is data analysis.

The use of the sensors to determine structural health is so new, Pakzad said, that it changes the way structural engineers will work in the future.

“They’re the equivalents of iPhones in communication,” he said. “Ten years ago, there was no such thing.”

The sensors are small, battery-operated, easy to work with and inexpensive, Pakzad said. The result is that students and companies can use many sensors for little cost.

Working with the sensors gives his students a variety of opportunities, he said, including networking, experience with nontraditional technologies for structural engineering and a head start on graduate work for undergraduate students.
Bethlehem resident Siavash Dorvash, a fourth-year doctoral student at Lehigh, says the sensors make it easier to monitor a structure and allow inspectors to invest less money and time into structures, and achieve the same results. He is looking forward to working on the data for the Easton-Phillipsburg bridge.

Carley Miller, a senior at Lehigh, said she has been working on the bridge since October and is also looking forward to analyzing the data.

She said working on the study has given her perspective on different paths available to her in engineering.

More info here.