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

Archive for August, 2011

Wireless Sensor Network: At a Glance

A nice introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks is available in this open access publication by INTECHopen:

Wireless Sensor Network: At a Glance
A.K. Dwivedi and O.P. Vyas

The paper is available here.

Power-Scavenging Batteries

MicroGen Systems, a startup based in Ithaca, New York, is developing energy-harvesting chips designed to power wireless sensors like those used to monitor tire pressure and environmental conditions. The chips convert the energy from environmental vibrations into electricity that’s then used to charge a small battery. The chips could eliminate the need to replace batteries in these devices, which today requires a trip to a mechanic or, for networks of sensors that are widely distributed, a lot of legwork.

The core of MicroGen’s chips is a one-centimeter-squared array of tiny silicon cantilevers that oscillate when the chip is jostled. At the base of the cantilevers is a bit of piezoelectric material: when it’s strained by vibrations, it produces an electrical potential that can be used to generate electrical current. The cantilever array is mounted on top of a postage-stamp-sized, thin-film battery that stores the energy it generates. The current passes from the piezoelectric array through an electrical device that converts the current to a form compatible with the battery. When the chip is shaken by, say, the vibrations of a rotating tire, it can produce about 200 microwatts of power.

“If you can get it down to a small size, 200 microwatts is potentially quite useful,” says David Culler, chair of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a pioneer in developing wireless sensor networks for environmental monitoring and other applications. However, he notes, engineers are developing “zillions of harvesters” that produce energy from light, heat, radio-frequency waves, or vibration, and convert it into electrical energy that can be used right away or stored on a battery. Culler believes solar power is the technology to beat for most wireless-sensor applications.

More info here.

China has allocated a special fund to support the development of the Internet of Things (IOT) industry.

Hao Yan (, China “has allocated a special fund to support the development of the Internet of Things (IOT) industry. The total fund of 5 billion yuan is expected to support the industry for the coming five years, China Securities Journal reported Tuesday. The fund has been set to support IOT in technology research and development, industrialization, application model, standard design, and public service. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has approved funding for approximately 100 of the 600 companies that applied in May, the newspaper reported. The IOT development plan for the 12th Five-Year period predicted that the industrial scale would reach 200 billion yuan ($31 billion). Systems, tests and examinations would account for 70 billion yuan; 60 billion yuan from chips, middleware, integrated modules and equipments; 60 billion yuan from project implements, service developing systems and maintenance; and 10 billion yuan would come from sensor production, according to experts.

The IOT development plan for the 12th Five-Year period is currently being reviewed by an expert panel and may be released as early as September after a minister conference, said sources at the technology bureau of MIIT.”

More info here.

WSNWARE – Java Middleware for Wireless Sensor Networks

WSNWARE is an open source Java/OSGi middleware, designed for monitoring, controlling and standardizing Wireless Sensor Network.

WSNWARE is a normalized message oriented middleware, messages are transformed by incoming/outgoing adapters, which are specific to the application (as RAW packet is).

WSNWARE aims to provide a standardized access and representation of the network, its nodes and equipment (i.e. sensors). It comes with a set of tools and components which enable rapid development (i.e. create GUI, applets, web services, REST services) and easily bind to new modules.

The OSGI framework has been selected as container for WSNWARE modules, although the library and most of the components are designed as POJO and may be easily integrate in standalone (non-OSGI) contexts.

WSNWARE provides a set of bundles which can be used by developers for developing high-level WSN applications in RAD style, improved by OSGi modularization and management.

Ready-to-use platform adapters and real-world samples, are provided as well:

  • TinyOS2, Java.comm RXTX and their examples,
  • high level filters (statistical, noise-channel),
  • GUI expositors (real-time tables, charting),
  • GUI controllers and a dynamic IDE,
  • Multilateration application example

More info here.

TRMSim-WSN, Trust & Reputation Models Simulator for Wireless Sensor Networks

TRMSim-WSN (Trust and Reputation Models Simulator for Wireless Sensor Networks) is a Java-based simulator aimed to test Trust and Reputation models for WSNs.

It provides several Trust and Reputation models and new ones can be easily added.It allows researchers to test and compare their trust and reputation models against a wide range of WSNs. They can decide whether they want static or dynamic networks, the percentage of fraudulent nodes, the percentage of nodes acting as clients or servers, etc.It has been designed to easily adapt and integrate a new model within the simulator. Only a few classes have to be implementend in order to carry out this task.

More info here.

NASA Uses MicroStrain Sensors to Monitor Vibroacoustic Shock During Shuttle Launches

MicroStrain Inc. provided NASA Kennedy Space Center with the wireless sensor technology to remotely monitor lift off acoustics and vibration generated during the launch of both Endeavour and Atlantis space shuttles. The noise generated by rocket exhaust affects the safety of spacecraft, ground facilities and hazardous equipment.

Data gathered by MicroStrain’s sensors was used in corroborating prediction models. The deployed sensor network provides NASA with the means to implement scalable, wireless sensors capable of proactively monitoring high-value, hazardous systems.

NASA considered several systems and determined that MicroStrain’s sensor solutions met their requirements for this particular project. Using MicroStrain sensors, NASA engineers Rudy Werlink and Ravi Margasahayam quantified the acoustic levels generated by the launch of space craft at a distance just over one mile from launch site. Using this data, engineers were able to validate math models for far-field acoustics.

NASA’s Margasahayam, describes the technology as, “a tool for Safety and Mission Assurance to support issues of safety, reliability, and maintainability of equipment and structures by condition monitoring.” The test data is key to study the safety and operational readiness and/or to predict impending failure of ground structures, spacecraft, and equipment.

MicroStrain’s wireless solution was comprised of multiple G-Link accelerometers, a SG-Link strain node, a wireless sensor data aggregator (WSDA), and SensorCloud, the company’s latest web based data management platform.

MicroStrain’s wireless systems provided a solution for many of the unique NASA test parameters. Unable to access the test site 48 hours prior to launch, the system was required to operate during this period in anticipation of launch.

The result yielded over 3 gigabytes of data. By leveraging the remote data visualization and management tool, SensorCloud, MicroStrain support engineers assisted NASA to isolate and interpret launch event data.

“The NASA project provided a great opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of our wireless sensor networks,” said MicroStrain President and CEO, Steve Arms.

“SensorCloud is a ground-breaking technology that enables users to view key data from anywhere and offers creative new ways to manage wireless sensor networks and enhance condition based monitoring systems. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with NASA on this significant application.”

More info here.

Sensinode releases Updated Software Libraries for Texas Instruments Chips

Sensinode Ltd., a leading provider of software that powers the Internet of Things, today announced release of its NanostackTM 2.0 Library for two hardware platforms from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI); the CC2530 2.4Ghz radio frequency system-on-chip (SOC) and the low-power RF (LPRF) platform of integrated, sub- 1GHZ CC430 MCUs for ultra-low-power wireless network applications. With the updated release of NanostackTM 2.0, developers can quickly implement embedded Internet applications that leverage LPRF technology in hugely scalable mesh networks.

The Sensinode Nanostack 2.0 Library includes all required software to configure network nodes compliant with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 6LoWPAN specification (RFC4944) and related standards. This core technology enables IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) connectivity to IEEE 802.15.4 wireless network devices.

More info here.