During orientation research at tomato growers Gebr.Verbeek in Velden, the Netherlands (North Limburg province) it has become clear this spring that wireless sensors may well be used in optimizing the glasshouse climate. It is possible with this technology to use energy more efficiently. The research has been done by Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw together with AgriSensys and Climeco in the framework of the project Gezonde Kas.
In most glasshouse the climate is controlled by a measuring box and a climate computer. The traditional measuring box collects data about the relative humidity of the air and the temperature of each section of the glasshouse. This measuring is the establishment at a certain point and does nor show differences in climate in the glasshouse. When adjusting the temperature and the humidity the climate computer therefore applies a considerable safety margin. Often more heat is then produced than necessary.
Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw has developed a wireless sensor system, which in the meantime is available under trade name AgriSensys. The wireless sensor network consists of a number of measuring boxes and a basic station. The measuring boxes are in various spots in the glasshouse and the base station collects the information via a web-application and produces a graph. The grower in this way knows the horizontal differences in climate and where and when there is a risk of wetness in the glasshouse.
This spring a test was carried out at Gebr.Verbeek. 25 sensors were positioned in the tomato glasshouse, which is equal to 10 sensors/HA. During the period February to May measurements of the measuring box were compared to those of the sensors.
During the test it became clear that based on the values of the measuring box it very often resulted in unnecessary heating of the glasshouse. Also the grower, because of the sensor network, became more aware of the critical points in the glasshouse.
From the research it is clear that a wireless sensor network is a good instrument to improve the climate in the glasshouse and to save energy. The research will be followed in the project Gezonde Kas at the testing station in Straelen. A test in a pot plant glasshouse will follow in September
The project Gezonde Kas is an INTERREG IV A program, in which border areas work on Europe. Research companies and business in the region Greenport Venlo and agro business region Nederrijn cooperate on practical solutions for glasshouse horticultural companies. More information here.
From a distance, standing on the windy ridge in Las Trampas Regional Park, the space-age contraption surrounded by a chain link fence looks out of place in the middle of swaying grass and a herd of grazing cows. But this array of sensors, hooked up to a central computer, is playing an integral role in protecting this landscape, as part of a network of weather stations that have made a big difference over the last 20 years in monitoring and predicting fire risk in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
“We can now see patterns and trends that one station wouldn’t really give us, but that the network does provide,” says East Bay Regional Parks Fire Department Assistant Chief John Swanson. “A better understanding of those patterns and trends may have helped us in 1991.”
These Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) represent one of the biggest advancements in fire preparedness since the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire raged through the area now monitored by the new stations. A national RAWS network existed before 1991, but there were no stations in the Bay Area. The Oakland Fire Department now owns two stations, installed in 1994 and 1995. The East Bay Regional Parks District owns four stations, all installed in 1995.
Swanson said the data from this network of stations could have helped predict the surprising behavior of the 1991 fire.
More info here.
Innovative uses of advanced sensors and sensor networks are starting to be translated into new ecological knowledge. These sensors are providing a new set of “eyes” through which researchers may observe the world in new ways, extend spatial and temporal scales of observation, more accurately estimate what cannot be observed, and, most important, obtain unexpected results or develop new paradigms. Automated sensors are widely deployed by members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations, yet some needs—particularly for chemical and biological sensors—are not currently being met. There are additional opportunities for developing sensor networks at synoptic, regional, continental, and global scales. Although we are seeing more uses of sensor systems and, in particular, sensor networks, the opportunities for these systems are just beginning to be realized, with much more work to be done, including formulation of new questions, development of new sensors, better software, and new ways for researchers to work together across large distances.
From a paper in BioScience, May 2009, by American Institute of Biological Sciences
Full text available here (campus/library subscription required)
The Second International ICST Conference on Electronic Healthcare for the 21st century is to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on September 23-25, 2009.
The aim of ehealth 2009 is to bring together experts from academia, industry and global healthcare institutions to stimulate cutting-edge research discussions, share experience with real-world healthcare service providers and policy makers as well as provide numerous business opportunities.
Despite substantial budgets spent on ehealth in recent years, existing healthcare services do not sufficiently address the issue of patient privacy, trust, quality-assurance nor the potential in e-learning and web minding for delivering 21st century healthcare system for European citizens. The key topic of ehealth 2009 will be investigating a realistic potential of the Internet in providing evidence-based healthcare information and education to patients and global users.
The CFP is now online
Paper Submission Deadline: 1st May, 2009
Notification of Acceptance: 1st June, 2009
Camera Ready Deadline: 1st July, 2009
Conference Date: 23rd – 25th September, 2009
IDTechEx has released a new report “Wireless Sensor Networks 2009-2019”. While WSN can assist with many of the big issues of this century including security, safety, protecting the environment, animal and plant conservation, healthcare and efficient food production, among many others, 99% of sensors installed in the world nowadays are still wired. Over the next ten years, they argue, WSN will constitute no more than ten percent of the wireless sensors that are sold, mainly because of technical challenges.
There is much to go for, though. WSN already beats the wired alternative with 90% reduction in cost, even at current prices, and often WSN enables things to be done that are otherwise impossible. Little wonder that hundreds of research centers are pursuing the subject and there are already well over 100 suppliers of this or that part of the jigsaw puzzle. An early objective for most schemes is wireless replacing all or almost all wiring, not just power and not just control.
More of the insights from the report can be read on this article.
This fall, San Francisco will implement the largest mesh network for monitoring parking to date. Around 6,000 wireless sensors from the San Francisco company Streetline will be fixed alongside as many parking spots, monitoring both parking availability and the volume and speed of passing traffic. The city hopes that displaying information from the sensors on Web maps, smart phones, and signs on the street will reduce the traffic and pollution caused by circling cars.
A mesh network differs from a typical wireless network in that there’s no central transmitter: every node can transmit to every other node. Mesh networks have generally been used for environmental monitoring, or to grant wireless devices Internet access.
More info here.