New wireless sensor network keeps tabs on the environment

Jun 04, 2008

Have you ever wondered what happens in the rainforest when no one is looking? Research in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Science may soon be able to answer that question.

The departments of computing science and earth and atmospheric science have been working together to create a Wireless Sensor Network that allows for the clandestine data collection of environmental factors in remote locations and its monitoring from anywhere in the world where the Internet is available.

The research team, including Pawel Gburzynski, Mario Nascimento, and Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, recently launched EcoNet, a functional model of a WSN for environmental monitoring in the display house in the University of Alberta's Agriculture/Forestry Centre. The display house hosts a small but feature-rich environment that mimics that of a tropical forest. Using a WSN, a number of sensors can continuously monitor factors like temperature and luminosity and will process, store and transmit data co-operatively and wirelessly with other sensors to generate data that can then be collected and made available to users virtually anywhere on the globe. The sensors represent a technology for researchers to monitor diverse phenomena continuously and inconspicuously.

Having the data continuously monitored by researchers substantially increases the chances of uncovering anomalies early enough to investigate them promptly and thoroughly.

The overall framework of WSN can also be extended for use in other closely related scenarios such as monitoring potentially dangerous situations like hazardous waste disposal, or hard-to-witness phenomena such as ice cap movements in the Arctic.

The opportunities these sensors will provide to scientists are paramount in a global environment that is changing at an ever-increasing pace.

Once the display-house prototype is tested and customized, at least two sites are to be fully deployed in the fall, one likely in the Brazilian rainforest, and the other in a forest in Panama.

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protecting Earth from space weather

Mar 20, 2015

This week's spectacular glowing auroras in the night sky further south than usual highlighted the effect that 'space weather' can have on Earth.

The welding system of the future is self-learning

Mar 20, 2015

Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) is developing an entirely new kind of welding system, one which solves quality and productivity problems related to automated and mechanised welding. The system ...

Recommended for you

Lights out in Australia as Earth Hour kicks off

16 hours ago

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails on the nearby Opera House went dark Saturday, as lights on landmarks around Australia were switched off for the global climate change awareness campaign Earth Hour.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.