J. Sens. Actuator Netw.2015, 4(3), 154-159; doi:10.3390/jsan4030154 - published 1 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Interest in and deployment of wireless monitoring systems is increasing in many diverse environments, including row-crop agricultural fields. While many studies have been undertaken to evaluate various aspects of wireless monitoring and networking, such as electronic hardware components, data-collection procedures, power management, and communication protocols, little information related to physical deployment issues has been reported. To achieve acceptable wireless transmission capability, the radio/antenna must be positioned properly relative to the ground surface or crop canopy to minimize degradation of the radio signal, usually requiring the mounting of the radio/antenna above the canopy. This results in the presence of obstacles to normal agricultural equipment traffic and production operations and potential damage to the wireless monitoring system. A simple and rugged radio/antenna mounting system was designed which could be subjected to encounters with agricultural equipment without suffering physical damage. The mounting system was deployed and tested, and operated successfully following repeated encounters with various agricultural machines and implements. The radio/antenna mount is simple and inexpensive to fabricate using locally available components.
J. Sens. Actuator Netw.2015, 4(2), 67-153; doi:10.3390/jsan4020067 - published 16 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This survey paper presents the state-of-the-art directional medium access control (MAC) protocols in wireless ad hoc and sensor networks (WAHSNs). The key benefits of directional antennas over omni-directional antennas are longer communication range, less multipath interference, more spatial reuse, more secure communications, higher throughput and reduced latency. However, directional antennas lead to single-/multi-channel directional hidden/exposed terminals, deafness and neighborhood, head-of-line blocking, and MAC-layer capture which need to be overcome. Addressing these problems and benefits for directional antennas to MAC protocols leads to many classes of directional MAC protocols in WAHSNs. These classes of directional MAC protocols presented in this survey paper include single-channel, multi-channel, cooperative and cognitive directional MACs. Single-channel directional MAC protocols can be classified as contention-based or non-contention-based or hybrid-based, while multi-channel directional MAC protocols commonly use a common control channel for control packets/tones and one or more data channels for directional data transmissions. Cooperative directional MAC protocols improve throughput in WAHSNs via directional multi-rate/single-relay/multiple-relay/two frequency channels/polarization, while cognitive directional MAC protocols leverage on conventional directional MAC protocols with new twists to address dynamic spectrum access. All of these directional MAC protocols are the pillars for the design of future directional MAC protocols in WAHSNs.
J. Sens. Actuator Netw.2015, 4(2), 50-66; doi:10.3390/jsan4020050 - published 2 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this paper, a dual band planar inverted F antenna (PIFA) has been investigated for cooperative on- and off-body communications. Free space and on-body performance parameters like return loss, bandwidth, radiation pattern and efficiency of this antenna are shown and investigated. The on- and off-body radio propagation channel performance at 2.45 GHz and 1.9 GHz have been investigated, respectively. Experimental investigations are performed both in the anechoic chamber and in an indoor environment. The path loss exponent has been extracted for both on- and off-body radio propagation scenarios. For on-body propagation, the path loss exponent is 2.48 and 2.22 in the anechoic chamber and indoor environment, respectively. The path loss exponent is 1.27 for off-body radio propagation situation. For on-body case, the path loss has been characterized for ten different locations on the body at 2.45 GHz, whereas for off-body case radio channel studies are performed for five different locations at 1.9 GHz. The proposed antenna shows a good on- and off-body radio channel performance.
J. Sens. Actuator Netw.2015, 4(1), 30-49; doi:10.3390/jsan4010030 - published 9 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa contains the highest number of people affected by droughts. Although this can easily be mitigated through the provision of timely, reliable and relevant weather forecasts, the sparse network of weather stations in most of these countries makes this difficult. Rapid development in wireless sensor networks has resulted in weatherboards capable of capturing weather parameters at the micro-level. Although these weatherboards offer a viable solution to Africa’s drought, the acceptability of such data by meteorologists is only possible if these sensors are calibrated and their field readiness scientifically evaluated. This is the contribution of this paper; we present results of a calibration exercise that was carried out to: (1) measure and correct lag, random and systematic errors; (2) determine if Perspex was an ideal material for building sensor boards’ enclosures; and (3) identify sensor boards’ battery charging and depletion rates. The result is a calibration report detailing actual error and uncertainty values for atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature sensors, as well as the recharge and discharge curves of the batteries. The results further ruled out the use of Perspex for enclosing the sensor boards. These experiments pave the way for the design and implementation of a sensor-based weather monitoring system (SenseWeather) that was piloted in two regions in Kenya.
J. Sens. Actuator Netw.2015, 4(1), 2-29; doi:10.3390/jsan4010002 - published 4 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The automotive industry could be facing a situation of profound change and opportunity in the coming decades. There are a number of influencing factors such as increasing urban and aging populations, self-driving cars, 3D parts printing, energy innovation, and new models of transportation service delivery (Zipcar, Uber). The connected car means that vehicles are now part of the connected world, continuously Internet-connected, generating and transmitting data, which on the one hand can be helpfully integrated into applications, like real-time traffic alerts broadcast to smartwatches, but also raises security and privacy concerns. This paper explores the automotive connected world, and describes five killer QS (Quantified Self)-auto sensor applications that link quantified-self sensors (sensors that measure the personal biometrics of individuals like heart rate) and automotive sensors (sensors that measure driver and passenger biometrics or quantitative automotive performance metrics like speed and braking activity). The applications are fatigue detection, real-time assistance for parking and accidents, anger management and stress reduction, keyless authentication and digital identity verification, and DIY diagnostics. These kinds of applications help to demonstrate the benefit of connected world data streams in the automotive industry and beyond where, more fundamentally for human progress, the automation of both physical and now cognitive tasks is underway.