Friday, September 24, 2010

Smart Sensors to Network the World

"Smart Sensors to Network the World" by David E. Culler and Hans Mulder, Scientific American June 2004, pages 84-91.
"An emerging class of pillbox-size computers, outfitted with sensors and linked together by radios, can form perceptive networks able to monitor a factory, a store— even an ecosystem. Such devices will more intimately connect the cyberworld to the real world"

"Thumb-size computers called motes combine microprocessors and memory with radio transceivers, onboard power supplies and a variety of sensors."

"Motes are inexpensive enough to deploy by the thousands in factories, farms or wildernesses. Each mote can collect and analyze sensor readings independently but can also link up with neighboring motes in a mesh like perceptive network."

"Motes are already being manufactured by Crossbow, Intel and others. Early prototype systems have helped biologists study seabird nests and redwood groves. Perceptive networks are also being developed to monitor vibrations of manufacturing equipment, strain on bridges, and people in retirement homes."
This article discussed several practical examples of sensor networks being built by UC Berkely and Intel. They used small microcontrollers with wireless transmitters to gather environmental data. One system being built by Intel was designed to measure the environment inside of an Intel factory monitoring temperature, humidity and vibration to detect problems before it production was affected. The article predicts that these kinds of computers will soon be found in our homes, workplaces, and public spaces and it will likely raise substantial privacy concerns.

No comments:

Post a Comment