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Archive for August, 2007

Will Sensor Networks Suite Sril Lanka?

An interesting blog entry on WSN and their use in Developing Countries can be found here.

“When deciding on using wireless systems to Sri Lanka various matters have to be looked into before coming to the final conclusion of it. For example a typical sensor board used for these applications costs around two hundred dollars and the sensors it self has prices ranging form fifty dollars onwards. Even though companies say that this is an affordable solution as for a third world country like us this may not be a very cheap solution. If we were to develop a sensor based system for farmers in our country the costs we incur will be great and sometimes may not be feasible when compared to the available solutions. Furthermore in countries like ours the where labor cost is very low a farmer can afford about ten laborers at the cost of a single sensor. So converting form this manual labor system to a high technological solution like sensor networks in our country may not be easy.”

Wireless Bridge Monitoring

New York may be the first state with a 24/7 wireless bridge monitoring system, reports EE Times. The $500,000 project is being funded by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority. Engineering professor Kerop Janoyan at Clarkson University is working with TransTech Systems (Schenectady, N.Y.) to craft a commercial version of their wireless bridge monitoring system.

The wireless sensor nodes use accelerometers and strain gauges as well as more exotic sensors from ultra sound to eddy currents, depending on specific monitoring problems. Wireless nodes, which are battery powered, are polled by a master single-board computer that aggregates sensor data and determines whether to alert inspectors.

Read the whole story here.

SenSys'07 Doctoral Colloquium

The call for submission for ACM SenSys’07 Doctoral Colloquium is now online.

Electric Utilities to use ZigBee for DSM Programs

The ZigBee Alliance has seen strong interest from electric utilities around the globe in using ZigBee to help their consumers be more energy efficient.

Several utilities are now in active development of customer programs which will make use of ZigBee enabled electric meters being installed at homes throughout the territory. Utilities leading this market development include utilities from California and Texas as well as Canada and Australia. Other utilities beginning to explore the use of ZigBee for their customers include utilities in California, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia along with Scandinavia, France and Japan.

The key for utilities in developing robust customer programs for energy efficiency is using open standards like ZigBee, which enables utility owned devices, such as electric meters to communicate with consumer owned devices, such as thermostats, appliances, lighting system, etc. With a standards-based Home Area Network (HAN) able to communicate with the electric meter, home owners can receive information about real-time energy prices, up-to-date energy consumption and other information direct from devices in their home without waiting for the monthly bill to telling them what happened last month.

In May, Texas became the first state to require utilities to include HANs as part of their upgrade plans, if the utility wishes to seek cost recovery from the public. Currently, several other legislative bodies are considering similar approaches for utilities in their state or country.

Read further…

Microchip DSC Enables Smart Sensors

The dsPIC33FJ12 family of digital signal controllers is meant to enable a new class of “smart sensor” applications. Said to be the world’s smallest DSCs (18- and 28-pin packages as small as 6 x 6 mm), they can be moved closer to sensors, thus eliminating lead noise and off-loading work from the central processor. Microchip claims using libraries and filter design tools, the new DSCs can replace analog filters in noise reduction. The family’s on-chip analog-to-digital converters offer 1.1 Msps, it also features Peripheral Pin Select, a feature that allows designers to re-map digital I/O to optimize board layout.

More info and data sheets