A sensor network is a group of specialized transducers with a communications infrastructure intended to monitor and record conditions at diverse locations. Commonly monitored parameters are temperature, humidity, pressure, wind direction and speed, illumination intensity, vibration intensity, sound intensity, power-line voltage, chemical concentrations, pollutant levels and vital body functions.
A sensor network consists of multiple detection stations called sensor nodes, each of which is small, lightweight and portable. Every sensor node is equipped with a transducer, microcomputer, transceiver and power source. The transducer generates electrical signals based on sensed physical effects and phenomena. The microcomputer processes and stores the sensor output. The transceiver, which can be hard-wired or wireless, receives commands from a central computer and transmits data to that computer. The power for each sensor node is derived from the electric utility or from a battery.
Potential applications of sensor networks include:
- Industrial automation
- Automated and smart homes
- Video surveillance
- Traffic monitoring
- Medical device monitoring
- Monitoring of weather conditions
- Air traffic control
- Robot control.
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- The Australian government uses sensor networks to enhance national security and help protect the environment.
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