Spurred by the rapid increase in capabilities (and the declining cost) of computing and communication devices, it has become increasingly viable to embed sensors to physical devices and link these sensors through wireless networks. These sensor networks can be deployed for a wide range of applications that can improve our overall quality of life, efficiency, and even our ability to save lives. These applications include healthcare (e.g., health monitoring and coordination among doctors and nurses), aircraft flight control, weather forecasting, home appliance control, and protection against bioterrorism. One of the key challenges in the deployment of sensor networks is how to prolong the lifetime of the networks. Sensor networks will stress power sources because of their need for long operating lifetimes and high energy density. Therefore, energy efficiency is critical for the wide deployment of sensor networks.
We propose to study energy management techniques for sensor networks. Our key idea is to take advantage of the physical layer design that facilitates the combining of partial information. A node can receive several partial signals and combine these signals to retrieve the complete signal. We refer to this as hitchhiking. Hitchhiking can potentially conserve energy for transmitting data in sensor networks. By effective use of partial signals, a packet can be delivered with less nodes and/or less transmission power at each node. We propose to systematically study the energy management techniques for sensor networks as follows.
The PIs have active collaborations with Motorola and Microsoft. We plan to continue our collaborations with our industrial partners. The proposed project on energy efficient sensor networks cuts cross the boundaries between communication and network design. Our project will have a significant educational impact. We will design and offer courses and seminars on interdisciplinary examination of energy efficient design. In addition, we will involve both graduate and undergraduate students (including women and minorities) in our research projects.
Since July 2003