Development and deployment of wireless sensor networks

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O'Flynn, Brendan
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University College Cork
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Since the late 1990's researchers in both academia and industry have been exploring ways to exploit the potential for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) to revolutionise 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. These systems are required to provide information rich data streams wirelessly in (close to) real-time, be deployed in the world around us, and address the technical challenges associated with ensuring robust and reliable sensor streams and datasets. The work in this thesis 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, this thesis describes the development and deployment of novel WSN systems in the built environment, in environmental monitoring and in 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 miniaturised wearable microsystems. This thesis deals with each of these topics through a selection of peer reviewed publications addressing the theme of long-term, ‘zero maintenance’, low power consumption sensor networks. In this thesis the development of proposed systems and solutions to the key technology barriers to be overcome in the scaled deployment of sensor network systems is described which will enable WSNs to “be invisible, last forever, cost nothing and work out of the box”.
Wireless sensor networks , Smart systems integration , Structural health monitoring , Building energy management , Home area networks , Water quality monitoring , Body area networks , Wireless inertial measurement units
O'Flynn, B. 2017. Development and deployment of wireless sensor networks. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.