Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wireless Sensor Networks

I've gotten a little bored working with Ubuntu and OpenCV, so I've decided to switch gears back to the wireless sensor network development.

I've discovered a few things during my research that would make a wireless sensor network possible, without my having to develop my own hardware. Perhaps once I have a working prototype, I'll design and build my own hardware, but that's for the future.

For now, I'll share the gadgets that may make the wireless sensor network feasible. In a wireless sensor network, you have Zones. In each zone, you'll have nodes that each do a certain task. You might have some controlling the AC system, a few monitoring the air quality and maybe one controlling your hot water heater. Nodes can do all sorts of things. Zones can either be assigned to do one task, or handle multiple tasks for a single area. Its all about perspective. I haven't quite figured this whole concept out, so bare with me.

In my Wireless Sensor Network, I would like Zone Control units to have many wireless features as possible so that you could work with WiFi, XBee and perhaps Bluetooth at the same time. It would be convenient to have a fast/strong processor to handle crunching some data before sending it off to where ever its going. For regular data, one can just use these units as a wireless gateway, but for images and video, it might be a good idea to compress the data to make sending it faster and easier. This is where there Dragrove comes in. It contains all the features of a wireless gateway, including an ARM processor and embedded Linux. The Dragrove also is Arduino compatible, has a place for an XBee module, as well as an RF module. You can even use the unit for local digital I/O data if you want to have just a wireless gateway without nodes. It has screw terminals on the side for loose wire, and connectors inside for special Dragrove shields.

Lower level units - Nodes - could simply be Arduino's with the control hardware (or sensor packs), with an XBee for communications. Very simple, doesn't need to be complex or any fancy data processing either. Even Data Display units can be nodes. Being a node doesn't necessarily mean that data is going one direction, its possible to receive as well.

To make this system complete, one must have a way to store all this data from the sensor network. Enter Pachube (pronounced PATCH-BAY). Pachube makes this all possible. Especially now that their service is FREE. You can have unlimited private feeds at no cost. So your local system can send data over to Pachube, the data can be crunched and handled, and you download your feeds back to your system for analysis. Its very convenient if you ask me. This allows mobility of your data. You can access your data feeds anywhere in the world, and keep an eye on your system. This also takes a lot of work off my hands, as the system is practically ready to go. You just need to setup your Feeds on Pachube, and setup your data transmission (i.e. uploading sensor data to Pachube), and off you go.

Now I've included links to few websites I've discovered that might help folks:

Paraimpu is a social tool that may help broadcasting certain data easier.

OpenPicus has Flyport modules which are stand-alone system on module with a customizable webserveremail clientTCP/UDP/FTP and more. OpenPicus also has Ethernet and WiFi modems for wireless sensor and hardware control networks; there are wide applications for this.

Flukso is a community based metering application.

Open Energy Monitor has all sorts of things you need to get started on a home energy monitoring tool.

For those of you who have a Two-Story home and have to wait while hot water comes to you, I have a solution for you. You no longer have to waste water flushing out the line until hot water arrives. A Hot Water Recirculating Pump is your solution. While they are a little pricey at first, in the long run they will save you money. Today water is becoming more and more valuable, so you really should conserve it as much as possible. This method allows you to get hot water faster, without wasting water (and if you plan right, you wont really waste much electricity either).

Well, that's all I've got for now.

Peace Out.


  1. Really I know many more things about wireless sensor network and other important things related to network that are explained by you.Pachube is a new thing for me .I didn't heard about this but now i know something about this .Thanks for sharing this information.