Learning Wireless Sensor Networks

July 1, 2010
School of Engineering, Amritapuri

A wireless sensor network consists of spatially distributed autonomous sensors which cooperatively monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, motion or pollutants.

This may be the simplest definition offered on the topic, but M.Tech. students of Wireless Networks and Applications learned much more when Dr. Thomas Haenselmann, University of Mannheim, Germany spent one month at their Amritapuri campus teaching them the subject.
Dr. Thomas Haenselmann

“Error control mechanisms, energy efficient access, routing, localization and synchronization were some of the sub topics he taught,” shared Ms. Vineetha Panicker, Assistant Professor, who helped coordinate the class.

The lectures were also broadcast to the Health Sciences campus in Kochi using A-View and were attended by graduate students of Medical Informatics.

In addition, Dr. Thomas interacted with research groups and scholars at the Amritapuri, Kochi and Coimbatore campuses, offering helpful suggestions and advice.

“Wireless sensor networks can be used for prevention of forest fires, medical surveillance and remote sensing, earlier discovery of catastrophes such as collapse of buildings, landslides and even to control pollution,” he stated.

A doctorate in Multimedia Signal Analysis, Dr. Thomas’s research interests include wireless sensor networks, video surveillance and multimedia systems. He is Associate Editor of the journal Multimedia Systems published by Springer.


A member of the Technical Program Committee of the ACM Multimedia since 2004, he was invited this year to be a guest editor for the ACM TOMCCAP (Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications) – a special issue on Multimedia Sensor Fusion.

Currently engaged in research on education in Mannheim, Germany, he was inspired by Chancellor Amma’s vision on education, to take one month off to spend in India, teaching at Amrita University.

“We enjoyed his classes,” stated Aswathi, Remya and Aiswarya, second year M.Tech. students, who attended. “He incorporated many interesting aspects in his lectures. He suggested topics for our seminar and emphasized that we need to learn about upcoming research areas.”

Dr. Thomas also visited the deployment site for the Amrita Wireless Sensor Network for Real-Time Landslide Detection at Munnar and provided suggestions to improve the system.

“The 3-level warning system installed now can be upgraded so that people can receive the warning directly when a natural disaster strikes,” he suggested.

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