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View Full Version : [Discussion] Wireless sensor network(s)



LinuxGuy
03-18-2008, 01:20 PM
Has anyone done any work with these wireless sensor networks? If not, I am surprised, because they offer some very interesting options for robots connected to them. One thing I am thinking about is having wireless sensors that could not just provide information about the environment, but also identify the environment and allow the robot to triangulate its position within it. There are a LOT of possibilities here using something like ZigBee, a small microcontroller like a PIC/dsPIC, and some sensors.

Let's discuss it! :D

8-Dale

DresnerRobotics
03-18-2008, 01:37 PM
Hmmm, do you have any examples of these? Like are their units that are built specifically for this or are we talking custom applications? Setting up some beacons that wirelessly communicate with the bot for triangulation purposes would be nice, but I'd want something that would be useful for an entire house, not just one room.

LinuxGuy
03-18-2008, 02:54 PM
Hmmm, do you have any examples of these? Like are their units that are built specifically for this or are we talking custom applications?
Well, right now, it's just something I would like to explore. I've been reading about wireless mesh networks and sensor networks, and it just seems that having a robot (or several robots) as part of such a network could be a really useful thing. Each wireless sensor node could send out a packet identifiying itself and its location, along with some sort of homing signal that could be used for triangulation and location by the robot(s). The homing signal could be an audible sound out of the range of Human hearing but something the robot(s) could "hear."

I live in an apartment complex that is shaped like an "X" with four wings of apartments. I think it would be a real interesting place to test such a wireless setup. The wireless could be a combination of WiFi and ZigBee (since it can easily be mesh networked), and the sensor nodes would also have ZigBee.


Setting up some beacons that wirelessly communicate with the bot for triangulation purposes would be nice, but I'd want something that would be useful for an entire house, not just one room.
We want the same thing then! I want W.A.L.T.E.R. to be able to navigate anywhere in my apartment complex, including all four levels. That's a major goal, to be sure!

I need to get myself a pair of ZigBee modules with connections for an external antenna. I have a small box of PICs/dsPICs, as well as another box of various ARM7/ARM9 microcontrollers, and of course my Hammer Board (http://www.tincantools.com/product.php?productid=16133&cat=0&page=1&featured) on W.A.L.T.E.R. I wish it had more memory and flash.

8-Dale

LinuxGuy
03-23-2008, 11:13 PM
Hmmm, do you have any examples of these?
No examples yet, but I have decided what I want to use for my first foray into wireless sensor networks. I want to get a Arduino Diecimila USB IO Board (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/arduino-diecimila-usb-io-board.aspx) with an Arduino XBee (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8471) proto shield and Arduino ProtoShield Kit (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=7914). The total price won't really be too bad for the capabilities I will get. I'm not clear on whether you can stack more than a single shield board on an Arduino though.

This seems like a reasonable way to start out, complete with wireless capable of doing mesh networking.

8-Dale

Wizeman
03-25-2008, 04:41 PM
I'm actually looking into ZigBee for sensor mesh networking, but for HVAC/Home Automation.

I was wondering, do ZigBee devices automatically mesh-network (i.e.: I power my ZigBee device and it will start relaying data from other ZigBee devices in the vicinity if necessary)?

LinuxGuy
03-26-2008, 05:29 PM
I was wondering, do ZigBee devices automatically mesh-network (i.e.: I power my ZigBee device and it will start relaying data from other ZigBee devices in the vicinity if necessary)?
No, they have to be configured for mesh networking and such. I think most ZigBee type modules ship setup to just be a cable replacement like Bluetooth.

8-Dale

Wizeman
03-26-2008, 08:07 PM
OK, but then are you saying that these devices, the ones sold by Trossen, are potentially capable of mesh networking?

LinuxGuy
03-27-2008, 02:00 AM
OK, but then are you saying that these devices, the ones sold by Trossen, are potentially capable of mesh networking?
Yes, if it is ZigBee, it should have the mesh network capability.

8-Dale