Power Considerations for Sensor Networks [chapter]

Khadija Stewart, James L.
<span title="2012-03-30">2012</span> <i title="InTech"> Telecommunications Networks - Current Status and Future Trends </i> &nbsp;
6 www.intechopen.com 2 Will-be-set-by-IN-TECH Preliminaries Wireless sensor networks are composed of small, inexpensive devices that are designed to sense some phenomena, perform light computations and communicate with one another. These devices are usually scattered over some area. This technology has seen a wide range of applications ranging from military use to personal security. In the following, we discuss the history of WSNs and some of their most pertinent applications. Wireless sensor
more &raquo; ... tworks evolved form the Smartdust project, which was developed and funded by DARPA in the late 1990s. The Smartdust project was designed to show that "a complete sensor/communication system can be integrated into a cubic millimeter package" (Pister, 2001). The Smartdust motes were engineered to be power efficient. This and other similar projects have led to the explosion of research in the area of wireless Ad Hoc and sensor networks, which was and still is heavily supported by US government agencies including the National Science Foundation. While working on the Smartdust project, the researchers recognized the variety of applications for their work both in the military field and elsewhere. Some of the applications for the Smartdust projects are virtual keyboard, inventory control, product quality monitoring and smart office spaces among others (Pister, 2001). In the virtual keyboard application, dust motes would be glued into fingernails to sense the orientation and motion of the fingertips and communicate with a computer. This could be used in sign language translations, piano play, etc... In the inventory and quality control applications, a system of communication could be implemented and deployed in all aspects of the production process in order to monitor the location of the product and control and monitor its quality (from temperature, to humidity exposure etc...). In the smart office spaces application, the person's preferred temperature, humidity settings could be directly communicated to the environment they walk into. Some of the military applications that the Smartdust project was developed for include battlefield surveillance, transportation monitoring and missile monitoring. In the past few year, Wireless Sensor Networks made the transition from the Berkeley research centers to the production arena with the creation of companies, such as Crossbow Technologies (Crossbow Technologies, n.d.) that started manufacturing them. The appeal of Wireless Sensor Networks stems from the fact that you can deploy them and just leave. We discuss in the remainder of this section the main classes of applications for the general WSNs. WSN applications can be categorized into habitat and environmental monitoring, heath applications, commercial applications, military applications among others.
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