Currently used networks of sensors are typically hard-wired both for power supply and data transfer. This increases the cost and limits deployment over large areas. While there exist some monitoring systems based on wireless connectivity, their units require batteries and therefore periodic maintenance. In addition, existing sensors are usually based on rigid circuit boards susceptible to mechanical stress while placed in the soil and/or unable to adapt to dynamically changing shapes of the objects such as plants. All of the above might well explain why sensor networks can monitor conditions in, for example, buildings (measuring vibration or deformations of steel constructions) but cannot be easily deployed for automatic monitoring of large open areas like forests or agriculture fields. Our networks will target precisely such large-area applications and will necessarily comprise large numbers of network nodes (thousands) acquiring data from even larger numbers of associated sensors. To make sensor networks suitable for large-scale, we will use an architecture comprising active “mother” stations communicating wirelessly and powering the surrounding passive sensor clouds. In our project we will unite several state-of-the art technologies – from wireless communications, to nanotechnology, to MOF synthesis, to network theory, to multiscale modelling. This multipronged approach will result in an unprecedented family of technologies that will allow for monitoring the environmental resources with the unprecedented precision. We want to contribute to the benefit of the society by countering and reducing environmental hazards – in Mazovia, in Poland, and in Europe. The concepts and networked systems we will develop will also be extendable, with appropriate modifications, to other types of applications such as monitoring of food quality during multistep manufacturing, monitoring of food supply chains, or monitoring of hazards in large industrial complexes (e.g., refineries or chemical plants).
Fraunhofer Society is a world-renowned organization fostering cutting-edge research bridging Academia and Industry. As such, its expertise in high-end material characterization, large-scale manufacturing protocols, standardization, failure analysis, or large-scale data management will be invaluable for several Research Thrusts within our Center and described in detail later in this Proposal.
CEA-Tech is one of the global leaders in electronics and information technology research. As such, its expertise in the design of the electronic components, their integration with (bio)chemical sensors, and inter-sensor communication within our Environmental Internet will be of paramount importance to our success.