Research at AmritaWNA
Wireless Sensor Network with Self-Organization Capabilities
AmritaWNA recently completed the deployment of a wireless sensor network to predict landslides in the hilly Munnar region of Kerala. The project was executed in collaboration with about a dozen international partners.
Wireless sensor networks are currently receiving a great deal of attention as a tool for detecting emergency events and monitoring physical parameters of interest, such as radiation, pollution, temperatures and pressures.
The key idea behind a WINSOC was the development of a totally innovative design methodology, mimicking biological systems, where the high accuracy and reliability of the whole sensor network was achieved through a proper interaction among low-cost sensors placed close to each other. This local interaction gave rise to distributed detection or estimation schemes, more accurate than that of each single sensor and was capable of achieving globally optimal decisions, without the need to send all the collected data to a fusion center.
The network that was deployed in Munnar was hierarchical and composed of two layers: a lower level, composed of low cost sensors, responsible for gathering information from the environment and producing locally reliable decisions, and an upper level, composed of more sophisticated nodes, whose goal was to convey information to the control centers.
One of the key issues was the interaction among sensors nearby, in such a way that increased the overall network reliability, decreased the probability of congestion around sink nodes, provided scalability and tolerance against breakdown or stand-by of some sensors and eliminated the necessity for battery recharge.
Amrita was part of an international consortium that brought together expertise from large companies, academies, research centeres, end-users and SMEs, to create a strong synergy between the academic world, industry and the end-user. The goal was, on the one hand, to develop a general-purpose innovative wireless sensor network having distributed processing capabilities and, on the other hand, to test applications on environmental risk management where heterogeneous networks, composed of nodes having various degree of complexity and capabilities, were working under realistic scenarios.
Amrita's role was to develop and test a network for rainfall-induced landslides. The WINSOC project will extend applications to other disasters such as gas leakage detection and large scale temperature field monitoring.
"The wireless sensor system developed by Amrita University and successfully tested at Munnar in Kerala to forecast natural disasters like landslides can be replicated in similar disaster-prone areas elsewhere in the country"
- Dr. R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India.