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Archive for June, 2006

Intel Research Videos

Some very interesting videos about sensor networks are available from Intel Research. They provide a quick overview of sensor networks, motes, possible applications etc. The videos on “Intel Mote 2 Overview” and “Heterogenous Networks” are especially exciting. You can have a look at them here.

New Engineering Center to Transform Sensor Technology

Fourteen Baltimore researchers are part of a new national engineering research center that is expected to revolutionize sensor technology, yielding devices that have a unique ability to detect minute amounts of chemicals in the atmosphere, whether they are emitted from factories or exhaled in human breath.

The goal of the center is to produce devices that are so low in cost and so easy to use that they will transform the way doctors care for patients, local agencies monitor air quality, governments guard against attacks and scientists understand the evolution of greenhouse gases. Dubbed MIRTHE (for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment), the project will combine the work of about 40 faculty members, 30 graduate students and 30 undergraduates from Princeton, Johns Hopkins, UMBC, Rice University, Texas A&M University and City College of New York.

The complete story here.

Video: Wireless Sensors, Inventing the Future

The video of the “Wireless Sensors, Inventing the Future” event, which took place at the Computer History Museum of Mountain View, CA, on June 5th, is available on the Museum’s website and on Google Video. It is a very interesting, 1.5 hours video.

Windows Embedded Student ChallengE 2006 — winning projects

Representatives of 30 student development teams from seven countries converged on Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. campus June 23-25, to compete in the third annual Windows Embedded Student ChallengE, which featured the theme, “Preserving, protecting, and enhancing the environment.” Five winning teams collectively were awarded $24,000 in cash.
The winning project is “Forest Watcher,” a monitoring system for preventing forest devastation, by Politehnica University of Bucharest, Romania.The team’s project addresses this problem with a network of sensors placed in the forest, which gather information about cutting noises, temperature, humidity, pressure, and carbon monoxide in the area. Data is processed, and the forestry is automatically informed of problems such as fire or illegal logging.
Complete information is available here.

Book review: "Handbook of Sensor Networks: Algorithms and Architectures"

Telecom Books Blog has an interesting review of “Handbook of Sensor Networks: Algorithms and Architectures”, by Ivan Stojmenovic.

The complete review can be found here.

MAC Alphabet Soup

Medium Access Control (MAC) for Wireless Sensor Networks has been a very active research area for the past couple of years. The sensor networks literature presents an alphabet soup of MAC protocols. Koen Langendoen is serving the “MAC Alphabet Soup” for sensor networks. The webpage provides a comprehensive index into various MAC protocols specifically designed for use in Wireless Sensor Networks, where energy consumption, latency, throughput, and fairness have a different trade off than in typical WLAN (802.11) networks. You can help contribute MAC protocols not listed in the soup yet.

For an overview of MAC protocols in sensor networks you can read the book chapter on MAC in the “Embedded Systems Handbook” (2005), here.

For an overview of future research challenges for MAC design in sensor networks you can read the recent ACM SIGCOMM CCR article (April 2006), here.

Wireless Sensor Networks Museum

After listening to Jan Beutel’s great presentation on Metrics for Sensor Network Platforms at ACM REALWSN’06, I discovered the Sensor Network Museum. It has reference data and links for different platforms. You can find detailed information on Sensor Networks Routing Protocols, MAC Layer Protocols, Simulators, Hardware, Processors, Radio Systems, Sensors and Energy.

ZigBee pioneer raises another $12m

Ember, a US company at the forefront of the nascent sensor network market, has landed another slug of financial backing.

The company announced on Wednesday that it had raised a total of $12m (£6.3m) from several existing investors. This included Vulcan Capital, the investment fund of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Polaris Venture Partners, where Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe is a general partner.

The complete story here.

Energy harvesting

The biggest obstacle to large scale implementation of wireless sensors in manufacturing is the battery. If you are going to put sensors in hard-to-reach areas, then you don’t want to have to go back often and replace batteries–for example a vibration sensor on every motor in every hidden location.

If this product works as billed, it is truly a breakthrough in that application. British company Perpetuum has launched “the world’s first truly effective” vibration energy harvester to power wireless and battery-free devices capable of sending large amounts of data from many types of industrial equipment.

RLW Inc of State College, Pa., selected the Perpetuum microgenerator to power its S5NAP wireless sensor nodes. These devices have been used to demonstrate that the PMG7 can readily provide the necessary energy for even the most demanding sensor applications such as accelerometers.

The complete story here.

Dust Networks Meets Demand for Reliable Wireless Sensor Networking

Dust Networks has announced their SmartMesh-XT wireless sensor networking system. The Networks’ SmartMesh-XT family of products consists of motes and managers in both the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands.
Every mote in a TSMP-based network acts as a router, enabling simplified network installation and extremely high reliability. As a result, SmartMesh-XT products achieve >99.9% reliability in the face of harsh RF environments and battery-operated motes typically live for more than 5-10 years.

More information here.


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