Towards autonomous smart sensing systems

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Haigh, Peter
Hayes, Michael
Gawade, Dinesh R.
O'Flynn, Brendan
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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
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Since the 1990's, researchers in both academia and industry have been exploring ways to exploit the potential for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) to revolutionize our understanding of -and interaction with -the world around us. WSNs have therefore been a major focus of research over the past 20 years. While WSNs offer a persuasive solution for accurate real-time sensing of the physical world, they are yet to be as ubiquitous as originally predicted when the technology was first envisaged. Technical difficulties exist which have inhibited the anticipated uptake in WSN technologies. The most challenging of these have been identified as system reliability, battery lifetime, maintenance requirements, node size and ease of use. Over the past decade, the Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) group at the Tyndall National Institute, has been at the forefront of driving the vision of ubiquitously deployed, extended lifetime, low power consumption embedded systems providing information rich data streams wirelessly in (close to) real-time. In this time, the WSN group has developed multiple novel, first of kind, wireless multi-sensor systems and deployed these in the world around us, overcoming the technical challenges associated with ensuring robust and reliable long-term data sets from our environment. This work is focused on investigating and addressing these challenges through the development of the new technologies and system integration methodologies required to facilitate and implement WSNs and validate these in real deployments. Specifically, discussed are the development and deployment of novel WSN systems in the built environment, environmental monitoring and fitness and health monitoring systems.The key research challenges identified and discussed are:a)The development of resource-constrained, extremely low power consumption systems incorporating energy-efficient hardware and software algorithms.b)The development of highly reliable extremely long duration deployments which through the use of appropriate energy harvesting solutions facilitate (near) zero maintenance sensor networks.c)The development of low power consumption miniaturized wearable microsysteThe development of technologies to address these challenges in terms of cost, size, power consumption and reliability which need to be tested and validated in real world deployments of wireless sensing systems is discussed. It is clear that when looking at the scale up of deployments of novel WSNs, that to be successful, such systems need to "be invisible, last forever, cost nothing and work out of the box". This paper describes these relevant technologies and associated project demonstrators.
Energy harvesting , Smart systems
Haigh, P., Hayes, M., Gawade, D. R. and O'Flynn, B. (2020) 'Towards autonomous smart sensing systems', Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference (I2MTC), Dubrovnik, Croatia, 25 - 28 May. doi: 10.1109/I2MTC43012.2020.9128887
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