April 12, 2010
School of Engineering, Amritapuri
The Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications presented a case-study of its landmark “Real-time Wireless Network for Landslide Detection” at a national workshop on March 19-20, 2010.
The workshop on “Mobile and Wireless Networks” was organized at the Coimbatore Institute of Technology and sponsored by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE).
Mr. Josh Freeman presented the case study on behalf of the Amrita Center. Other speakers came from institutions such as IIT Madras and Anna University. The workshop was attended by over 75 delegates.
The case study explained various aspects of the development and deployment of the wireless system. Every year landslides cause structural disasters and result in injuries and loss of life of hundreds of victims.
The project created the capability to constantly monitor the level of humidity, land pressure and the movements of the subsoil. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapetham is the only one in India to have an actual bonafide deployment of the wireless sensor network.
“Technology that helps people, is the hallmark of all research at Amrita,” emphasized Mr. Freeman. “When the focus is on the humanitarian aspect, as opposed to abstract research that nobody sees or uses, a project like this can save people’s lives.”
For example, last summer, a landslide warning was actually issued where the system was deployed. Data about movements of the subsoil was viewed in real-time, as it actually happened, by the project coordinators. Immediately a warning was issued.
The warning was substantiated by the Kerala government and then distributed to TV news channels. “If rainfall continues at the current rate, there is a very high chance that a landslide will occur at Anthoniar Colony, Munnar, Idukki District,” the warning had stated.
Fortunately, the rain slowed in the following days, reducing the risk of a potential landslide.
With a background in mechanical engineering, especially in advance controls and systems testing, Mr. Freeman designed the lab setups and handled the sensor deployment in the field. He was responsible for the installation of structures, electronic enclosures and mounting poles.
Mr. Freeman was previously employed with General Motors in the US. Inspired by Chancellor Amma, he moved to India several years ago. He heads the Robotics Lab at the Amritapuri campus.