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Sensors 2008, 8(10), 6417-6432;

Development of Light Powered Sensor Networks for Thermal Comfort Measurement

Department of Energy and Refrigerating Air-conditioning Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan
Received: 2 September 2008 / Revised: 6 October 2008 / Accepted: 13 October 2008 / Published: 16 October 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Algorithms)
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Recent technological advances in wireless communications have enabled easy installation of sensor networks with air conditioning equipment control applications. However, the sensor node power supply, through either power lines or battery power, still presents obstacles to the distribution of the sensing systems. In this study, a novel sensor network, powered by the artificial light, was constructed to achieve wireless power transfer and wireless data communications for thermal comfort measurements. The sensing node integrates an IC-based temperature sensor, a radiation thermometer, a relative humidity sensor, a micro machined flow sensor and a microprocessor for predicting mean vote (PMV) calculation. The 935 MHz band RF module was employed for the wireless data communication with a specific protocol based on a special energy beacon enabled mode capable of achieving zero power consumption during the inactive periods of the nodes. A 5W spotlight, with a dual axis tilt platform, can power the distributed nodes over a distance of up to 5 meters. A special algorithm, the maximum entropy method, was developed to estimate the sensing quantity of climate parameters if the communication module did not receive any response from the distributed nodes within a certain time limit. The light-powered sensor networks were able to gather indoor comfort-sensing index levels in good agreement with the comfort-sensing vote (CSV) preferred by a human being and the experimental results within the environment suggested that the sensing system could be used in air conditioning systems to implement a comfort-optimal control strategy. View Full-Text
Keywords: Thermal comfort; PMV; Light-powered sensor networks; Energy beacon enabled mode; CSV Thermal comfort; PMV; Light-powered sensor networks; Energy beacon enabled mode; CSV

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Lee, D. Development of Light Powered Sensor Networks for Thermal Comfort Measurement. Sensors 2008, 8, 6417-6432.

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