The Road Ahead for Wireless Sensor Networks

  • Kevin W. Shockey

    Plotting the Road Ahead for Wireless Sensor Networks
    IST Results (03/27/06) 

    The IST project Embedded WiseNts is developing new cooperation techniques for integrating wireless sensor networks with the objects from which they draw data. In laying out their vision of the wireless sensor network of the future, the scientists analyzed existing systems in the areas of common application scenarios, algorithms, vertical system functions, and middleware. "By looking at these four areas, we identify the gaps in our knowledge, what is missing right now," said Pedro Marron of the University of Stuttgart. "With this starting point, we can begin to work out what people will be looking at in the next 10 years." Designers are currently working to develop energy-efficient hardware to match the advances in the energy efficiencies of software. The project participants also developed a contest, inviting researchers to submit their work in cooperating objects technology. A team of researchers from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro won first prize for an application detailing a system for monitoring animals that cattle ranchers could use to track the health of their livestock and prevent against infection. Students at the University of Zurich won second place with their proposal for an intelligent waste system that would embed RFID tags in disposable consumer goods and place tag readers in waste bins and to monitor the type of refuse being disposed of and track the recycling efforts of waste producers. A doctoral student from Lancaster University took third prize for his proposal of a traffic system in which vehicles would communicate with each other to negotiate space on the road in accordance with 'virtual vehicle slots.' "The promise of cooperating objects in robotics is very big," Marron said, adding that a new IST project, AWARE, "will be looking at how to develop a sensor system for the robots being introduced for fire fighting, as well as for the support of tiny autonomous flying objects."


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