Sensor Networks in Nature
Can automated sensor systems protect sensitive areas without being connected to the power grid or any other technical infrastructure? This is one of many questions that Lakside Labs faces in the SRSnet project. Cameras and microphones are deployed to detect events in nature parks. The tasks of the sensor network include visitor counting, surveillance of zones with protected flora, as well as the detection of gunshots for example. For all these tasks, the network must be able to run on batteries and renewable energy for longer periods of time. Finding a balance between energy usage and functionality of sensors is key to this project.
One approach is to selectively disable certain sensors while others take over their tasks. Detected events are collected in a database and can be retrieved by users via a web interface. This resource-aware sensor network is demonstrated in a test operation in the National Park Hohe Tauern. "It is very exciting to have an international cooperation as well as the practical work in the National Park," says researcher Bernhard Dieber.
There are many further aspects covered in this project. The scientific questions include the selection of hardware and suitable energy sources, the development of efficient audio and video processing procedures, the detection of complex events, as well as the storage and presentation of events and multimedia data to users. „The limited resources of the sensor network pose a special challenge - this is a highly active international field of research," explains the technical project leader Bernhard Rinner.