Wireless Sensor Network

Wireless Sensor Network (WSN)

Smart environments represent the next evolutionary development step in building, utilities, industrial, home, shipboard, and transportation systems automation. Like any sentient organism, the smart environment relies first and foremost on sensory data from the real world. Sensory data comes from multiple sensors of different modalities in distributed locations. The smart environment needs information about its surroundings as well as about its internal workings; this is captured in biological systems by the distinction between exteroceptors and proprioceptors.

Hierarchy challenges: detecting the relevant quantities, monitoring and collecting the data, assessing and evaluating the information, formulating meaningful user displays, and performing decision-making and alarm functions are enormous. The information needed by smart environments is provided by Distributed Wireless Sensor Networks, which are responsible for sensing as well as for the first stages of the processing hierarchy.

The importance of sensor networks is highlighted by the number of recent funding initiatives, including the DARPA SENSIT program, military programs, and NSF Program Announcements.