Energy efficient mobile wireless sensor networks

Shashank Priya, Dan Popa, Frank Lewis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


Wireless sensor networks (WSN) have tremendous potential in many environmental and structural health monitoring applications including, gas, temperature, pressure and humidity monitoring, motion detection, and hazardous materials detection. Recent advances in CMOS-technology, IC manufacturing, and networking utilizing Bluetooth communications have brought down the total power requirements of wireless sensor nodes to as low as a few hundred microwatts. Such nodes can be used in future dense ad-hoc networks by transmitting data 1 to 10 meters away. For communication outside 10 meter ranges, data must be transmitted in a multi-hop fashion. There are significant implications to replacing large transmission distance WSN with multiple low-power, low-cost WSN. In addition, some of the relay nodes could be mounted on mobile robotic vehicles instead of being stationary, thus increasing the fault tolerance, coverage and bandwidth capacity of the network. The foremost challenge in the implementation of a dense sensor network is managing power consumption for a large number of nodes. The traditional use of batteries to power sensor nodes is simply not scalable to dense networks, and is currently the most significant barrier for many applications. Self-powering of sensor nodes can be achieved by developing a smart architecture which utilizes all the environmental resources available for generating electrical power. These resources can be structural vibrations, wind, magnetic fields, light, sound, temperature gradients and water currents. The generated electric energy is stored in the matching media selected by the microprocessor depending upon the power magnitude and output impedance. The stored electrical energy is supplied on demand to the sensors and communications devices. This paper shows the progress in our laboratory on powering stationary and mobile untethered sensors using a fusion of energy harvesting approaches. It illustrates the prototype hardware and software required for their implementation including MEMS pressure and strain sensors mounted on mobile robots or stationary, power harvesting modules, interface circuits, algorithms for interrogating the sensor, wireless data transfer and recording.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006 - Aerospace Division
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Print)0791837904, 9780791837900
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Event2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Nov 5 2006Nov 10 2006

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Aerospace Division (Publication) AD
ISSN (Print)0733-4230


Other2006 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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