Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 8
Medical Applications of Wireless Sensor
Networks: Who-Did-What
Stanislava Stanković
Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) is a set of small, autonomous devices, working
together to solve different problems. It is a relatively new technology, experiencing
true expansion for the past decade.
Research in the field of nanostructures and sensors has brought real opportunities
for development of WSNs. People have realized that integration of small and cheap
microcontrollers with sensors can result in production of extremely useful devices,
which can be used as an integral part of the sensor nets. These devices are called
sensor nodes. Nodes are able to communicate with each other over different proto-
cols. Studies in the field of communication protocols for wireless sensor networks
are particularly interesting, and rely on various network topologies (Fig. 8.1 ).
Issues, addressed by communication among nodes, include power management,
data transfer, mobility patterns, etc.
Elements, capable of sensing different parameters, serve as data collectors in
these networks. The gathered data can be wirelessly transfered to any external
point, or simply interchanged among sensor nodes. The fact that data, sensed by
sensors, can leave the network highlights the potential of WSNs, their usability in
various fields.
WSN - Youth and History
As mentioned before, WSNs present new technology. History of this concept began
at University of California (UC), Berkley, with Smart Dust project, which was
funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) [ 1 ]. The aim of
this project was to develop self-organized, millimeter-scale hardware platform for
distributed WSNs. Primarily, this was a military application which resulted in the
development of relatively large sensor nodes. Later, miniaturization process brought
much smaller devices, with solid sensing and communication capabilities.
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