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On the lifetime and usability of environmental monitoring wireless sensor networks
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Electronics Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8382-0359
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Wireless sensor networks have been demonstrated, at an early stage in their development, to be a useful measurement technology for environmental monitoring applications. Based on their independence from existing infrastructures, wireless sensor networks can be deployed in virtually any location and provide sensor samples in a spatial and temporal resolution, which otherwise would only be achievable at high cost or involve significant work by humans.The feasibility of the usage of wireless sensor networks in real-world applications, however, is only maintained if certain technological challenges are overcome. Amongst these challenges, are the limited lifetime of the distributed sensor nodes, and user interfaces, which allow for the technology to be utilized in an efficient manner. Contributions to the solution of these challenges have been the objective of this thesis.

After an analysis of the contributions wireless sensor networks can provide

to the application domain of environmental monitoring, and the introduction

to the restrictions, which are posed by a limited operational lifetime and low

system usability, these issues are addressed at the system level of sensor nodedevices.

The lifetime of sensor nodes, which is closely linked to the lifetime of the

complete wireless sensor network, is addressed with regards to the energy

efficiency of nodes, as well as the utilization of solar energy harvesting in

order to increase the available energy resources. With respect to energy

efficiency, an analysis has been performed of the contributions to the energy

consumption of environmental monitoring sensor nodes, which leads to the

desire to minimize the nodes' duty cycles and quiescent currents. A sensor

node design is presented, which features energy efficiency as a key attribute by utilizingmodern semiconductor architectures. Moreover, an argument for the usage of synchronization-based, contention-free communication is made

in order to reduce active communication periods and, thus, the duty cycle

of a sensor node. A synchronization method with its focus on low protocol

overhead is introduced as a basis for such communication forms. After an initial feasibility study in relation to using battery-less solar energy

harvesting architectures in locations with limited solar irradiation, multiple

architectural implementations are analyzed in a comparative manner.

Among these comparisons is an analysis of short-termenergy storage devices in the form of double-layer capacitors and thin-film batteries, which provide prolonged component lifetimes than those for conventional secondary batteries, but which can only buffer for short periods of time due to their limited energy capacity. In order to be able to dimension such energy harvesting systems with respect to the individual application constraints at hand, state of charge simulations are proposed. Amethod for such simulations is presented and demonstrated for the implementation of an energy harvester model on a component basis. While the modeling in this manner is time consuming, the model can predict the state of charge of the energy buffer in the architecture with a high level of accuracy. Finally, a method for the systematic evaluation of solar energy harvesting architectures is presented. The presented method can be summarized as a solar energy harvesting testbed, which utilizes configurable energy harvesting circuits in order to create a deploy-once-test-many type of system. The output results of this testbed can significantly improve

the efficiency of architecture comparisons and system modeling.

Contributions to the improvement of the usability of wireless sensor nodes

are made on two separate levels, namely, developer usability and end user

usability. A method for the programming of sensor nodes based on hierarchical finite state machines is presented, which improves the usability of software development by creating familiarity for technically experienced

users. Moreover, the utilization of finite state machine principles allows

for the software to be developed in a systematic andmodular manner. As

implemented applications typically require to be verified, which, in the environmental monitoring domain, usually results in outdoor deployments,

usability considerations for sensor nodes are presented, which can simplify

this process. Special attention has been paid in order for these improvements to be achieved with low overheads. While software development is a familiar concept for most system developers, this is not the case for the end users of these systems, who are typically domain experts. In order to allow for wireless sensor nodes to be operated

by domain experts, a method for the configuration of sensor nodes has been proposed.The method uses a combination of graphical specification of the node behavior and a configurable sensor node. Theevaluation of this method, which has been based on a proof-of-concept implementation, demonstrated that the performance can remain high, while end users, without technical experience, are enabled to configure sensor nodes without prior training.

In summary, the contributions, presented in this thesis, address system

lifetime and usability with regards to the sensor node level. The results have

led to the implementation of an energy efficient sensor node, which allows for the operation frombattery-less solar energy harvesting sources. Furthermore, support tools for the implementation of these nodes, both on the hardware and software level, have been proposed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2013. , 147 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 161
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20046Local ID: STCISBN: 9789187557040 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-20046DiVA: diva2:658893
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. SAQnet: Experiences from the Design of an Air Pollution Monitoring System Based on Off-the-Shelf Equipment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>SAQnet: Experiences from the Design of an Air Pollution Monitoring System Based on Off-the-Shelf Equipment
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 2011 7th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, ISSNIP 2011, IEEE conference proceedings, 2011, 223-228 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Nowadays, air pollution is monitored with accurate, but large-sized measurement stations, leading to an overall limited number of monitored locations. Combining these stations, with a higher number of less accurate stations can provide additional information, such as with regards to pollutant distributions. In this paper we present the design, implementation and initial results of such stations based on Wireless Sensor Network technology. For the implementation of the network purely off-the-shelf equipment was chosen, which allows us to analyze the current status of commercially available Wireless Sensor Network technology. While the system was fully implemented and demonstrated operationally, the experiences found during the project showed a limited matureness with regards to the off-the-shelf equipment and uncovered flaws in typical assumptions underlying Wireless Sensor Network research. © 2011 IEEE.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2011
Keyword
Air pollution monitoring; Current status; Pollutant distribution; Wireless sensor network (WSN)
National Category
Embedded Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-15482 (URN)10.1109/ISSNIP.2011.6146632 (DOI)2-s2.0-84857955834 (Scopus ID)STC (Local ID)978-145770673-8 (ISBN)STC (Archive number)STC (OAI)
Conference
2011 7th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, ISSNIP 2011;Adelaide, SA;6 December 2011through9 December 2011;Category numberCFP11842-CDR;Code88863
Available from: 2011-12-20 Created: 2011-12-20 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved
2. A Domain-Specific Platform for Research in Environmental Wireless Sensor Networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Domain-Specific Platform for Research in Environmental Wireless Sensor Networks
2013 (English)In: SENSORCOMM 2013, The Seventh International Conference on Sensor Technologies and Applications / [ed] Sergey Yurish, IFSA - Barcelona, Spain Muhammad Shakeel Virk, Narvik University College, Norway, 2013, 200-207 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Wireless Sensor Networks have the ability to improve a multitude of existing application domains. These networks are built up from a number of sensor nodes with sensing, communication and processing capabilities and the performance of the networked system is defined by the performance of the node platform it is based on. In this paper, we present SENTIO-em, a hardware platform for research in the environmental monitoring application domain. Based on the application domain requirements, the architecture and implementation of SENTIO-em is optimized for environmental monitoring constraints, while it is sufficiently flexible to be reused for different applications within the domain. The architecture of the platform is presented and evaluated under both laboratory and different environmental conditions. The obtained results are compared to a number of existing node platforms, demonstrating that SENTIO-em provides high energy efficiency with increased processing performance, short state transition times, and low quiescent currents.

Keyword
Wireless Sensor Networks, Sensor Node Platform, Environmental Monitoring, Domain-specific Design
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20038 (URN)STC (Local ID)978-1-61208-296-7 (ISBN)STC (Archive number)STC (OAI)
Conference
Seventh International Conference on Sensor Technologies and Applications, SENSORCOMM 2013, August 25 - 31, 2013 Barcelona, Spain
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved
3. Adaptive synchronization for duty-cycling in environmental wireless sensor networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adaptive synchronization for duty-cycling in environmental wireless sensor networks
2009 (English)In: ISSNIP 2009 - Proceedings of 2009 5th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, IEEE conference proceedings, 2009, 49-54 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In wireless sensor networks, as energy limited systems, communication is a costly activity. For this reason duty cycling approaches are commonly used, because they can limit the overall power consumption of a sensor node tremendously by shutting down communication sub-circuits whenever they are not used. However, for efficient power reduction nodes have to know the exact times when they are supposed to communicate in the network. Synchronization can be used to accomplish this and comes with additional features such as the possibility of cooperative sampling at a given time. In this paper we propose a synchronization protocol that introduces low overhead due to broadcast master-node synchronization, while still accomplishing synchronization accuracies in the order of 100 μs. The protocol is intended for periodic data collection applications that are common tasks in environmental monitoring systems. Since changes in environmental conditions can have a large effect on the synchronization behavior, we further present a temperature compensation algorithm for the proposed synchronization protocol that allows stable usage of synchronization in a wide range of temperatures. Measurement results are taken from implementing the protocol on sensor node platforms and show the real world performance of the presented methods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2009
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-11706 (URN)10.1109/ISSNIP.2009.5416772 (DOI)000283472800009 ()2-s2.0-77950922374 (Scopus ID)978-1-4244-3517-3 (ISBN)
Conference
2009 5th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, ISSNIP 2009; Melbourne; 7 December 2009 through 10 December 2009; Category number CFP09842-CDR; Code 79914
Available from: 2010-06-14 Created: 2010-06-14 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved
4. Durable Solar Energy Harvesting from Limited Ambient Energy Income
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Durable Solar Energy Harvesting from Limited Ambient Energy Income
2011 (English)In: International Journal on Advances in Networks and Services, ISSN 1942-2644, Vol. 4, no 1&2, 66-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Typical wireless sensor network applications inthe domain of environmental monitoring require or profitfrom extended system lifetime. However, restrictions in sensornode resources, especially due to the usage of capacity limitedbatteries, forbid these desired lifetimes to be reached. Asopposed to batteries, energy harvesting from ambient energysources enables for near-perpetual supply of sensor nodes, asthe utilized energy source is inexhaustible. Nevertheless, thesupply from ambient energy sources is rate-limited, whereinthis supply-rate is mainly defined by the system deploymentlocation. On the other hand, the attached sensor node hasa consumption-rate, which has to be supplied to guaranteecontinuous node operation. In this paper, we address thematching of supply-rate and consumption-rate in solar energyharvesting systems at locations with limited insolation. Thefocus lies on the reduction of harvester energy overhead, whichin low-duty cycled system easily reaches similar or higherconsumption levels than the load it supplies. We suggest andpresent two harvester architectures [1], that have their maindesign consideration on simplicity. The individual modulesof the architectures are tested and verified in laboratorymeasurements and we evaluate the fully implemented systemsin an outdoor deployment. Based on the laboratory results,implementation choices for the architecture modules have beenmade. Whereas both harvesting architectures continuouslysupplied the attached load during the deployment period, wewere able to compare their behavior with each other andpresent individual advantages and drawbacks

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IARIA, 2011
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14888 (URN)
Available from: 2011-11-24 Created: 2011-11-24 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved
5. Short-term energy storage for wireless sensor networks using solar energy harvesting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Short-term energy storage for wireless sensor networks using solar energy harvesting
2013 (English)In: Networking, Sensing and Control (ICNSC), 2013 10th IEEE International Conference on, IEEE , 2013, 71-76 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Solar energy harvesting has become a common energy source for outdoor wireless sensor networks. To avoid the lifetime limitation of traditional secondary battery technologies in these systems, energy harvesting architectures with short-term energy storage can be chosen. These technologies offer long shelf-life and many recharge cycles, but can buffer for only short periods of time due to their small storage capacity. In this paper we present the analysis of two of these short-term energy storage devices, namely double layer capacitors and thin-film batteries. We present different harvesting architectures using these buffer elements and compare their advantages and disadvantages in relation to being used in low-power wireless sensor network applications. Experimental results show that both storage types are viable options for the intended application, each bringing their own strengths and weaknesses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2013
Series
IEEE International Conference on Networking Sensing and Control, ISSN 1810-7869
Keyword
energy harvesting, energy storage, secondary cells, wireless sensor networks, buffer elements, double layer capacitors, low-power wireless sensor network application, outdoor wireless sensor networks, recharge cycles, secondary battery technologies, shelf-life, short-term energy storage, solar energy harvesting, thin-film batteries
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20042 (URN)10.1109/ICNSC.2013.6548713 (DOI)000326863700013 ()2-s2.0-84881287804 (Scopus ID)STC (Local ID)978-1-4673-5199-7 (ISBN)978-1-4673-5200-0 (ISBN)978-1-4673-5198-0 (ISBN)STC (Archive number)STC (OAI)
Conference
2013 IEEE Tenth International Conference on Networking, Sensing and Control
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved
6. A Method for Dimensioning Micro-Scale Solar Energy HarvestingSystems Based on Energy Level Simulations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Method for Dimensioning Micro-Scale Solar Energy HarvestingSystems Based on Energy Level Simulations
2010 (English)In: Proceedings - IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing, EUC 2010, IEEE conference proceedings, 2010, 372-379 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Solar energy harvesting gains more and more attention in the field of wireless sensor networks. In situations, where these sensor systems are deployed outdoors, powering sensor nodes by solar energy becomes a suitable alternative to the traditional way of battery power supplies. Since solar energy, opposed to batteries, can be considered as an inexhaustible energy source, scavenging this source allows longer system lifetimes and brings wireless sensor networks closer to be an autonomous system with perpetual lifetime. Despite the possibility of designing and constructing these harvesting system, dimensioning becomes a crucial task to fit implemented components to application and load system demands. In this paper we present a way of dimensioning solar harvesting systems based on simulation. Method and implementation of component and system models are described on the basis of an example architecture that has been used in prior work. Furthermore we evaluate the model in comparison to deployment of the same architecture and show the suitability of using the simulation as a support to optimize choices for system parameters

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2010
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12252 (URN)10.1109/EUC.2010.62 (DOI)2-s2.0-79951799488 (Scopus ID)978-076954322-2 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE/IFIP 8th International Conference on Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing, EUC 2010; Hong Kong; 11 December 2010 through 13 December 2010
Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-11-19 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved
7. A Testbed for the Evaluation of Solar Energy Harvesting Architectures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Testbed for the Evaluation of Solar Energy Harvesting Architectures
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20045 (URN)
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved
8. Implementing Wireless Sensor Network applications using hierarchical finite state machines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Implementing Wireless Sensor Network applications using hierarchical finite state machines
2013 (English)In: Networking, Sensing and Control (ICNSC), 2013 10th IEEE International Conference on, IEEE conference proceedings, 2013, 124-129 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In typical application scenarios of wireless sensor systems the embedded software follows a sequential program-flow. Such sequential systems are easily described using a finite state machine (FSM) abstraction model, as it is known from digital circuit design and control system development. In practice, a theoretical description in the form of an FSM must be transferred into a software implementation using an efficient programming abstraction method. This paper presents the implementation of a lightweight software library, which supports the development of wireless sensor applications based on hierarchical finite state machines (HFSM). With its minimalistic design approach, the implementation creates a small memory footprint and a high efficiency in state transitions and in Interrupt Service Routine execution. By introducing a hierarchical state machine architecture it is possible to split a complex algorithm into sub-modules. Hence, the code modularity and reusability is improved. Moreover, it is possible to test each module independently, so that code errors can be traced back more rapidly. This results in a very reliable application software.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2013
Series
IEEE International Conference on Networking Sensing and Control, ISSN 1810-7869
Keyword
embedded systems, finite state machines, modulation coding, telecommunication computing, telecommunication network reliability, wireless sensor networks, HFSM, code modularity, control system development, digital circuit design, embedded software implementation, hierarchical finite state machine abstraction model, interrupt service routine execution, lightweight software library, minimalistic design approach, programming abstraction method, sequential program-flow, small memory footprint, wireless sensor network application
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20043 (URN)10.1109/ICNSC.2013.6548723 (DOI)000326863700022 ()2-s2.0-84881304734 (Scopus ID)STC (Local ID)978-1-4673-5199-7 (ISBN)978-1-4673-5200-0 (ISBN)978-1-4673-5198-0 (ISBN)STC (Archive number)STC (OAI)
Conference
2013 IEEE Tenth International Conference on Networking, Sensing and Control, 10-12 April 2013
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2016-10-20Bibliographically approved
9. Concealing the complexity of node programming in wireless sensor networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Concealing the complexity of node programming in wireless sensor networks
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE 8th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing: Sensing the Future, ISSNIP 2013, IEEE conference proceedings, 2013, 177-182 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is a significant potential for Wireless sensor networks to be used as a general distributed measurement and monitoring system. The integration of computation, communication and sensing enables smart sensors to be built that can be adapted to a plethora of application requirements and allow for automated data collection throughout the network. However, the potential end users of this systems are domain experts, who usually do not possess the technical expertise to program, and thus operate, wireless sensor nodes, which prohibits the technology from becoming off-the-shelf equipment. In this paper, we present a method which enables the complexity of programming sensor nodes to be concealed in order to allow domain experts to use wireless sensor networks in basic applications without the requirement of technical assistance. We propose to use a computer-based specification entry, which generates a configuration parameter set to adjust the sensor node's application behavior. The method has been implemented in a proof-of-concept system and evaluated with test subjects who possess limited programming skills. The results show that users without any prior programming knowledge, or experience with embedded systems, are capable of configuring a sensor node according to a given application scenario within minutes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2013
Keyword
embedded systems, intelligent sensors, wireless sensor networks, automated data collection, distributed measurement, monitoring system, node programming, programming sensor nodes, smart sensors, wireless sensor nodes
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-20044 (URN)10.1109/ISSNIP.2013.6529785 (DOI)000326822400030 ()2-s2.0-84881111674 (Scopus ID)STC (Local ID)978-1-4673-5499-8 (ISBN)978-1-4673-5501-8 (ISBN)STC (Archive number)STC (OAI)
Conference
2013 IEEE 8th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing: Sensing the Future, ISSNIP 2013; Melbourne, VIC; Australia; 2 April 2013 through 5 April 2013; Category numberCFP13842-CDR; Code 97771
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved

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