Archive for the ‘sensor’ Category

Smart Dew

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Tel Aviv University — a network of tiny sensors as small as dewdrops called “Smart Dew” — will foil even the most determined intruder. Scattered outdoors on rocks, fence posts and doorways, or indoors on the floor of a bank, the dewdrops are a completely new and cost-effective system for safeguarding and securing wide swathes of property.

New satellite navigation system may save firefighters

Monday, December 17th, 2007

“A new tracking system to pinpoint people inside smoked-filled buildings has been developed in a move that should slash the risks faced by firefighters. French aerospace company Thales said on Wednesday its Indoor Positioning System (IPS) was aimed initially at helping fire services, although it could also be used by the police and armed forces. A Thales spokeswoman said the new system was based on a new kind of radio signal, called Ultra Wide Band, designed for very short range and high data-rate links”. Source

Trust, Mobisys, and more

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

I’ve just finished to give a presentation. I talked about old stuff – TRULLO (pdf, post) and distributed trust propagation (pdf, post). So I recycled old slides – only the first 20 slides (below) were brand new ;-) Thanks to Neal and Elisa!


DelFly: Tiny Robotic Ornithopter Spy

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

BoingBoing has a video of a tiny camera-carrying ornithopter developed at the Delft University of Technology. The ornithopter has a 35 cm wingspan and can carry a camera and video transmitter for 17 minutes. The next model will have a 10 cm wingspan.

As usual, the researcher “suggests that it could be used to locate victims in collapsed buildings”. If that happens before they’re used for police surveillance or military targetting, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Collaborative computation

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

An interesting example of mobile surveillance system. Would there be the possibility to introduce collaboration among the robots?


Bio-inspired morphing-wing micro aerial vehicle

“Aerospace engineering students at TU Delft, together with the Department of Experimental Zoology of Wageningen University designed the RoboSwift. RoboSwift is a micro airplane fitted with movable wings, inspired by the common swift, one of nature’s most efficient flyers. The micro airplane will have unprecedented wing characteristics; the wing geometry as well as the wing surface area can be adjusted continuously. This makes RoboSwift more maneuverable and efficient. Resembling the common swift, RoboSwift will be able to go undetected while using its three micro cameras to perform surveillance on vehicles and people on the ground. Furthermore, it can be employed to observe swifts in flight, thus enabling new biological research.”

More details here.

The UltraSwarm project (another intersting project is from the University of Sussex) is another example of a possible application in which mobile collaborative computation can take place among robots (helicopters).

“This study will investigate methods for achieving useful and controlled flocking in a swarm of small co-axial rotor helicopters by developing an accurate model of the vehicles and their aerodynamic interactions, and using this in simulation to optimise flocking performance before real-world testing.
The project combines two key ideas:

* Using biologically inspired rules of group behaviour (flocking) to enable a group of UAVs to control its own motion
* Wirelessly networking the swarm members together to form a single powerful computing resource

The term flocking, derived from flocks of birds, refers to the coordinated movement of a group of individuals such that they move with approximately the same velocity and inter-agent distance.”

More details here.

Taking your meds? Sensors will know

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

An interesting article on wireless sensors for health monitoring. The bottom line is that “…while the market for it is not easily measured, few doubt it’s growing”

“…High-tech monitors, Webcams and GPS devices are helping caregivers keep track of elderly parents from afar. Such technology, some believe, can help people straining under family responsibilities.” It’s interesting, that there are already quite a few companies providing health monitoring service based on wireless sensors.

Participatory Sensing starts from Web 2.0

Friday, June 8th, 2007

A first step towards participatory sensing (pdf). Commissioned by the Cabinet Office, a report, called The Power of Information, aimed to find out more about Web 2.0 tools and communities to see how the government can get involved to help Britons make the most of this “new pattern of information creation and use”. (bbc news)

Vehicles and pervasive computing

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

As you might now I attended PerCom a couple of months ago.

During the panel discussion, there was an interesting conclusion that vehicles are the most pervasive devices available today.
If you think about it vehicles contain a large number of sensors:

  • Speed
  • Acceleration
  • Yaw, G sensors (for ESP)
  • Temperature (environment, engine, tires)
  • Light sensors (automatic lights etc)
  • Fuel consumption, oxygen level, CO2 levels
  • GPS, Navigation system, maps etc.
  • Noise (to automatically regulate car radio volume)

Furthermore, modern vehicles have a number of ways to communicate (FM Radio (RDS,TMC), Bluetooth, GSM, soon 802.11n (WAVE) ). In my opinion, all these features already constitute vehicles as mobile sensor platforms. By exploiting already available sensors we can design numerous applications:

  • Road traffic monitoring (using acceleration and speed sensors)
  • Distributed pollution and temperature monitoring
  • Parking information
  • Formation of platoons of vehicles (e.g. maximize road capacity)
  • Dissemination of warning information
  • Accident avoidance (e.g. break when approaching a red light fast)
  • Visual enhancement (e.g. provide information on the windshield about traffic ahead, red light warning).
  • Landmarks/advertisement
  • Communication between vehicles (voice/file sharing etc)

All these application can be implemented either centrally (e.g. using GSM) or in an Ad-Hoc manner. Although the first approach is more reliable and fast it has some disadvantages:

  • Centralized data may be outdated and the response time may not meet the real-time requirements. Especially if we want local information (like “is the traffic light ahead red?”, “is there a parking spot within 100m?”)
  • Current centralized communication solutions (GSM, WiMAX) may not be able to handle the burden of real-time monitoring of hundreds of thousands of vehicles. These services are allready congested with million of mobile phone users.
  • Infrastructure could be quite expensive, especially if the area to be covered is large. Furthermore, infrastructure may not be available, especially in remote and isolated areas (you haven’t been on mountains in Greece ;) ).
  • Ad-hoc service is free and it can provide more concentrated local information (e.g. advertisements etc)

However, there are a lot of research issues in order to implement all these Ad-Hoc applications:

  • We need robust routing protocols that work both in dense urban areas and sparser areas (e.g. DTN).
  • We need dissemination protocols that take into account the interest of the vehicles/drivers to avoid flooding the drivers with unnecessary information and cause congestion to the network
  • We need MAC protocols that are able to deliver information to high-speed moving vehicles.
  • We need extremely robust trust and security mechanisms because there are human lives at risk!!

My last year’s research was manly focused on two areas:
How to exploit the navigation system of the car to route and disseminate messages, and how to use the Publish/Subscribe communication paradigm to achieve that.

Navigation systems are becoming more and more popular. A part from navigation suggestions, navigation systems provide valuable information that is currently not generally used. First of all, the GPS unit provides the vehicle’s geographical location. Furthermore, the NS map provides various geographical information: street names and numbers, location of points of interest (like fuel stations, train stations, etc), kilometer ranges, etc. This information may be extended to include the location of known infostations so that the vehicle can geographically route information to them.

At the same time, the most important information that the NS provides is the suggested route of the vehicle: This information 1)makes the mobility patterns of the vehicles more predictable. Additionally, 2)it can be exploited to extract interests, which can be used to design efficient routing and dissemination protocols and to filter information that is only relevant to the driver without his/her intervention (for example an accident warning affects only vehicles that will drive near the accident).

Therefore, in the last months I examined how we exploit the navigation systems (suggested routes to predict mobility patterns and to extract subscriptions) in order to design a vehicular routing algorithm and a Publish/Subscribe system.

You can find the results here
There is also some additional work on Pub/sub issues but we have to wait the reviewers first :)

Ilias Leontiadis

Really tiny wireless sensor node

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

This paper published in Biology Letters is linked to a video that shows a WSN attached to the belly of a dragonlfy. It weights 300mg (battery included) and apparently dragonflies do not have a problem carrying it around.

This is made by a guy called Jim Cochran who runs Sparrow Systems with his dad — they both sound like very nice people and from the look of it they can build stuff that works (rather than the usual WSN vaporware).

Dynamic Congestion Charge & Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Comments on Sensor Web Design Studies for Realtime Dynamic Congestion Pricing (here)

Situation: Traffic congestion is a fundamental problem. To avoid it on some streets, one may charge drivers accessing those streets. For simplicity, one usually charges a fixed rate (e.g., London congestion charge).  However, dynamic pricing is preferable – one charges depending on information about local road events, public event calendars, road segments, and congestion patterns.
Problem: The pricing model needs to gather such information.
Proposal: This paper proposes to do so by collecting readings from sensors and from aircrafts/UAVs with video cameras.
Future: To extend this proposal, one may be inspired by existing work on ad-hoc vehicular nets (e.g.,  by Ilias‘ recent work). What about  ‘Realtime Dynamic Congestion Charge with Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks’?

Acoustic sensors make surfaces interactive

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

New Scientist has an article on turning any surface into a touch screen using small piezoelectric sensors to sense surface vibrations.

A ring of robots to fight fires

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Computer scientists at the Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) have developed a new kind of software to monitor wireless sensor networks. For example, their software agents can help robots to navigate through simulated fires. Their real innovation is that their software agents are able to clone themselves, creating a ring of software around the fire. This very flexible approach to monitoring wireless sensor networks could be used in a wide variety of applications, like safeguarding containers in a warehouse — or on boats.