Dr Geoff V. Merrett
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Energy-Aware Sensor Networks

Research Theme: Energy-Harvesting Sensor Networks

Energy- and Sensing-Aware Architectures for Embedded Sensor Nodes

a 'unified' stack Sensory feedback is essential for motor learning and critical to recovery from neurological impairment, such as stroke. In neurological conditions, sensory deficits are often present, limiting the potential for recovery. Current understanding of neuroplasticity would support the argument that sensory, cutaneous input (stimulation that is applied to the skin) may enhance sensory-motor learning. Current rehabilitation robots use interfaces, such as virtual reality, to increase patient motivation during therapy. However, these systems do not give tactile feedback as you would normally experience when you grasp or interact with a real object. There is a need to design a system for effective recovery of reaching and grasping following stroke that is compatible with a range of rehabilitation robots, is low-cost and can translate between hospital or home use.

In humans, haptic sensory information is both tactile (related to contact and pressure) and kinaesthetic (related to position and motion). A range of different technologies, devices, methods and techniques have been proposed for providing a realistic tactile feedback to the fingertip, and a range of these will be investigated in this project. Other applications of the technology are in virtual reality for computer aided design and gaming.

This collaborative project (between the School of Electronics and Computer Science and the School of Health Sciences) is developing novel devices for providing a tactile sensation to a personís fingertip using a variety of different technologies and mechanisms. The developed devices are evaluated through human studies to ascertain which provide the most realistic and usable sensations for use in stroke rehabilitation. Each device will be evaluated by iterative testing with unimpaired participants and stroke patients to identify which mechanism(s) provide a realistic sensation and satisfies aesthetic, comfort, reliability and calibration considerations. The project is also investigating the development and evaluation of a wearable system for providing tactile feedback to all fingers on a hand, that can potentially be integrated with an existing rehabilitation robot.

Project webpage on the ECS website: http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/research/projects/547

Related Publications

Energy- and Information-Management Algorithms for Wireless Sensor Networks (IDEALS/RMR)

A Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) consists of a collection of small, locally powered, intelligent sensor nodes that communicate detected events over a wireless channel (typically through multi-hop routing). WSNs are continuing to receive an escalating research interest, due in part to the considerable range of applications that they are suited to. These applications include environmental monitoring, smart buildings, smart structures, object tracking, healthcare, security and defence.

One of the key challenges facing researchers is in overcoming the limited network lifetime inherent in the small locally powered sensor nodes. This project aims to investigate a network management algorithm (not a routing algorithm) to maximise network lifetime through exploiting energy harvesting and energy management, considering the importance of data, and by using only local (or selfish) decisions to minimise negotiation overheads. Additionally, the system will be simulated, analysed and implemented.

This project is developing IDEALS (Information manageD Energy aware ALgorithm for Sensor networks), which increases the network lifetime for important data, by controlling the degradation of the network. This extension in the network lifetime is obtained at the expense of less important data. IDEALS operates upon a system of priorities and thresholds, and through the exploitation of energy harvesting, energy management and data importance. Each sensor node in the network decides its own network involvement based on a trade-off between data importance, and its own energy availability.

The results obtained from WSNsim (see below) show that a significant increase in the network lifetime can be obtained.

Project Website: http://wise.ecs.soton.ac.uk/project.php?id=545

Related Publications

WSNs for Personnel Monitoring in Industrial Environments

cleanroom wsn The aim of this project is to implement a demonstration Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) to monitor people and activity in the new Mountbatten Cleanroom at the University of Southampton. The demonstration network aims to have 20 fixed nodes, and 10 portable/wearable nodes (for tracking cleanroom users), though it will be scalable to cover the entire cleanroom.

A fundamental purpose of the project is to provide a WSN showcase and development platform. However, additional aims of the project are for Information Provision (enabling cleanroom users, vistors and the public to see what is happening inside the cleanroom), and Administration (monitoring machine and personnel usage).

This project is currently in the design stage - more information will appear here as it becomes available.

Project Website: http://wise.ecs.soton.ac.uk/project.php?id=534

Related Publications

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