New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Archive for December, 2008

TinyOS Technology Exchange comes to Europe


The First European TinyOS Technology Exchange ETTX 2009 will take place in Cork, Ireland, on February 10, 2009, collocated with EWSN 2009, the largest European based sensor networks conference. Clearly, with the aim to foster a broader European user community.

The TinyOS Alliance encourages anyone who is interested in, using, exploring or advancing TinyOS-based technologies to attend.

More info here

Sensor-Equipped Footballs to Make Refs More Accurate

As everyone who’s had a ref make a bad call at their team’s expense knows, NFL refs aren’t perfect. But footballs and gloves with built-in sensors? Those might just make coach’s challenges history.

Dr. Priya Narasimhan of Carnegie Mellon University has developed the football and gloves, loading them up with wireless sensors that can precisely determine whether or not a ball hit the ground before being caught or whether or not someone had control of the ball before fumbling. It could also, using GPS, determine whether or not the ball cross the goal line. But the applications don’t stop there.

Eventually, the same kind of sensors used in the gloves could be adapted to shoes, to measure stride and running patterns, or even shoulder pads, to calculate blocking positions and force.The current version of the glove has 15 touch sensors on the fingers and palm, running to a wireless module on the back of the arm, said Adam Goldhammer of Richboro, Bucks County, a master’s student in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

More info here.

A sense of things to come – smart sensors and the environment

Monitoring threats to the reef – the need for smart sensors

How do you manage a unique natural resource like the Great Barrier Reef when it’s threatened on so many fronts? Coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures due to climate change, is possibly the biggest and most immediate threat.

Coral bleaching – one of many threats to the reef
(image: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)

But then there’s also coral disease; sediment, fertiliser and pesticide pollution from mainland run-off; and the growing spectre of acidification. The reef ecosystem is already susceptible to the effects of climate change; pollution only makes the problem worse. Each of these threats comes from a different source, operates at a different scale and interacts in a variety of ways.

More information here

WSN in Australian Rainforest

Scientists in Australia have developed an innovative wireless sensor network (WSN) to monitor the environment and potentially restore endangered rainforests. The group has deployed 10 wireless solar-powered sensors in the Springbrook National Park, to measure such environmental factors as temperature, humidity, light, soil moisture and wind speed, and to relay that information to a central database located in Brisbane, Queensland. 

Springbrook is part of the Gondwana Rainforest, which is included on UNESCO‘s World Heritage List for areas with outstanding heritage value. Up to 200 wireless sensors will be deployed over the next three years, including models with video and sound recorders, to provide details regarding the health of the ecosystem, fauna and flora.

More info here.

Inspired by Tesla, powered by Powercast

From Crossbow’s blog:

What forces drive us and keep us going? What energy do we need to power us on? Energy is often defined as the ability to do work or to cause change. Power is definedas the rate of doing work or the rate of using energy.Energy has always existed in one form or another, and sometimes in places we often overlook. While the world has focused on using radio waves for communication,Powercast has focused on capturing radio waves to power devices.

Founded in 2003, Powercast developed an RF energy harvesting module with breakthrough efficiency levels. Coupled with a transmitter that sends RF energy using algorithms developed by Powercast, the Powercast Wireless Power Platform™ was born. While the concept of sending power “through the air” has been discussed for more than 100 years, Powercast is the first company to make it commercially viable and harness energy in this form.
Powercast timeline from Iniko on Vimeo.

Energy Harvesting for Sensor Nodes

Although clearly there is now plenty of room and more need for immediate wsn applications based on available battery technologies or powered from the grid whenever possible, the prospects for battery free or complementary energy harvesting solutions would remarkably help expand future sensor deployment possibilities.

Here is an over-one-year-old interesting presentation by Raj Amirtharajah (Assistant Professor at ECE Dept. UC Davis) delivered at Stanford University Computer Systems Colloquium.

In this talk, Raj introduces energy harvesting schemes in the microwatts power range, describes circuit and system microarchitecture techniques to employ ambient energy sources in wireless sensor nodes, and provides specific examples of designing efforts for solar and vibration energy harvesting applications.

The talk then goes into some energy scalable DSP design techniques for sensor platforms with graceful performance degradation on power constrains. Lastly, future trends in this area are discussed.

The video can be seen here (1h 19′) or alternatively download it (128 MB) using this tool.

Wireless Sensor Network Helps School Cut Its Energy Use

Dec. 5, 2008—The City of London School for Girls is heating its facility more efficiently and more comfortably, thanks to a wireless sensor system that allows each room to be controlled independently, in order to maintain the optimum temperature. The system is intended to lessen the school’s carbon footprint by reducing the tendency to overheat some rooms, with wireless sensor nodes that were easier and less expensive to install than a traditional wired system.

More information can be found here