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Connected Integrated Smart Sensors: The Motion Cookies, Part 2

In Connected Integrated Smart Sensors: The Motion Cookies, Part 1 we described Sen.se's Mother and Motion Cookies system solution adopted by STMicroelectronics.

This solution may be applied in a wide scenario of applications. In the case of remote monitoring, a possible application of the “cookie” approach is on board a robot that operates in harsh environments like, for example, a volcano or the deep ocean. The MEMS accelerometer senses the movements of the object in all possible directions, and the cookie holds the information about the movement, making it possible to effectively map the movement of every part of the robot in a very effective way.

A cookie approach can be employed to build a net of sensors that can give a lot of information to a central processor based on a set of microcontrollers, which can control a series of actuators to realize a really smart system:

The submarine network might comprise the sensors inserted in the terminal equipment of the station and on board the ships, to monitor the sea conditions and the movements of each vessel in the network of interconnected boats.
(Source: Alcatel-Lucent)

The submarine network might comprise the sensors inserted in the terminal equipment of the station and on board the ships, to monitor the sea conditions and the movements of each vessel in the network of interconnected boats.
(Source: Alcatel-Lucent)

Medical remote monitoring is another possible application of the cookie approach: Let’s think for a moment of a patient who has a respiratory crisis when sleeping. A cookie sensor could monitor the breath, and another cookie sensor could monitor the heartbeat to double-check a dangerous situation. The mother board might collect the data and activate an emergency call to a medical center and request an ambulance. The composite information coming from the net, which is composed by each cookie, can help to draw a set of possible actions that fully satisfy safety requirements.

Let’s consider, for example, the case of a net of sensors to reveal an earthquake and to prevent the collapsing of some structures of a building that might be dangerous for the people in it. An automated system like this might really save many lives by means of an effective preventive action. The sensors could also check the physical conditions of the persons to establish priorities for the rescuers.

Many hybrid systems that share data coming from a set of sensors working in many different environmental conditions might be realized by means of a modular approach that could be easily adapted to the particular application.

Do you think this solution will effectively create connections among objects with a remote control center and realize an effective action plan, based on the data coming from smart sensors?

7 comments on “Connected Integrated Smart Sensors: The Motion Cookies, Part 2

  1. etnapowers
    July 2, 2014

    The Medical remote monitoring is really a great opportunity to utilize the cookie approach. One possible realization is a set of cookie sensor, each sensor measures one vital parameter of the patient and , the data might be elaborated to reveal emergency situations in a very effective mode.

  2. etnapowers
    July 2, 2014

    The submarine network is a good realization of a cloud of ships that could communicate wireless by mean of a central station . In case of emergency one boat could launch the SOS message and receive help from the nearest ship that might be pre-alerted from the submarine station, that elaborated the data coming from the boat in distress.

  3. Netcrawl
    July 2, 2014

    Undersea fiber-optic cable provide the backbone of worldwide telcommunication ( internet, etc.), the ability to rapidly and remotely monitor light paths on these cables is becoming critical. Downtime we seen in th past from cable breaks are no longer acceptable here.

    @etnapowers I agree with you, it also speed up the reaction time in case there is a problem on cable, it enable the crew to measure more accurately the time-to-repair works, and reduce cable maintenance expenses.    

  4. eafpres
    July 3, 2014

    @Paolo–if everywhere was populated all the time with perfectly smart sensors that were always connected, and the data were analyzed in real time by an artificial intelligence rivaling a human brain, then I would say, yes, this changes everything.

    But that's a lot of superlatives compared to our reality.

    I have talked about this before–a real challenge is that raw data need to be processed in ways that includes awareness of the application.  Sensors need analog front ends that are specific to the type of sensor.  A/D converters have to match the dynamic range of expected data.  Bit rates must keep up with data creation rates, yet have overhead when communications are less than ideal.  On the other (server, database) end, data must be further converted into engineering units, then algorithms used to decode the data into databases that are useful to analyze temporal behavior.  This requries intimate knowledge of the application.  

    Just gathering temperature data all over the place doesn't help, in my opinion.  Sure, having global networks of radiation sensors, weather stations, cameras, etc. can help visualize macro-events, but the really hard work is getting information out that isn't so obvious.

  5. Davidled
    July 4, 2014

    It seems like design process is illustrated for each subsystem in detail. These could be developed. In my view, some limitation could be partially overcome by integration with smart sensor and database.

  6. Netcrawl
    July 4, 2014

    @easpres there's a big challenges here, it's about analysis and processing, how do we going to deal with those massive data collected by these data-gathering sensors. We have these so many sensors, each produced significant amount of data, do we really need these data? Do we really get what we need here?

  7. eafpres
    July 4, 2014

    @netcrawl–“how do we going to deal with those massive data”

    This is the key point, you have correctly pointed it out.

    In the first article in this series, the “cookie” sensors introduced have some very important features in this regard.  Apparently they can perform “signature” analysis.  This means they are doing a lot of the signal processing within the sensor, which means much less needs to be sent to the database.  I think smart sensors that reduce the back end data problem are the future.  Just getting more data makes things worse in many case.

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