Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

An electronic green thumb

Date:
February 7, 2012
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
If sensors are supposed to communicate with each other to compare the measured data and to secure them, then, in the future, a network of distributed sensor nodes will aid in that: the network ensures problem-free communication between the sensors. For example, they can be used to reliably monitor the watering of plants.

If sensors are supposed to communicate with each other to compare the measured data and to secure them, then, in the future, a network of distributed sensor nodes will aid in that: the network ensures a problem-free communication between the sensors. For example, they can be used to reliably monitor the watering of plants. At the 'embedded world' trade fair, taking place from 2/28 -- 3/1 in Nuremberg (Germany), the researchers are showcasing a technological demonstration.

A green thumb is required where plants are to grow abundantly -- that also applies to watering them in dry areas. If they are watered too much, then the soil becomes saline; if the plants receive too little moisture, they let their leaves droop and, in the worst case, they wither. In the future, sensors in the soil, a central unit and an associated app will supplement the green thumb: one look at the smart phone and the farmer will know what moisture content the soil has. Which plants need water, which do not? If the plants get too dry, the farmer is alerted by SMS; the same applies if there is too much water flowing onto the fields.

Watering is one of the potential applications for the new technology developed by the researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications HHI in Berlin. "The basis is a central unit that connects all types of sensors securely and reliably with each other," says Jens Krüger, scientist at the HHI. This unit records the data of all sensors and forwards them to an Internet browser or an app on an Android smart phone, where the user can call them up and enter limit values -- in the case of the watering system they might be humidity values. If these threshold values are under or over, he will receive an SMS on his mobile phone. "We use existing technology and customize it so the user can access it," says Krüger. This means: The sensors that the researchers connect to this central unit via sensor nodes are commercially available -- what is new is the platform, via which they communicate with each other, and the language, or rather, the protocol that they use for their communication.

The special part: the sensors need not be installed in a complex manner, they contact the central unit automatically. The required sensors simply need to be inserted and away we go. "The system we developed gets to know the sensors automatically. To achieve this, we developed our own protocol that the sensors and the base unit use to communicate," says Krüger. Another benefit: the central unit does work similar to a computer, but it has an embedded system with micro-controls and an operating system and therefore is far more energy-efficient: it uses only two watts. In comparison, a PC would use roughly 150 Watts.

A demonstrator comprising the central unit and several sensor nodes already exists. Currently, the sensors are connected via cable, in the future, however, they will radio their data wirelessly to the unit. If some of the sensors are no longer within radio range, they will first send their measurement results to other sensors that are closer to the central unit and which will transmit the signals to the unit. To illustrate the capabilities, the researchers connected to the demonstrator sensors that measure humidity, temperature and leakage. The system also works for any other type of sensor, such as noise sensors. For instance, they might also be used to protect critical infrastructures such as water mains, main electric lines of the electrical grid or railway lines and alert to thieves trying to steal the copper. In these cases, the sensor would detect, for example, noises made by digging. If one sensor detects such a respective noise, it connects via radio to the other sensors and compares the results. The system calculates the exact spot the digging takes place with the help of the data that is recorded by neighboring sensors. The system will emit an alarm if there is an electricity cable or a water main.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "An electronic green thumb." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207100139.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2012, February 7). An electronic green thumb. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207100139.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "An electronic green thumb." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207100139.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) — 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) — Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) — Daimler kicks off a round of second-quarter earnings results from Europe's top carmakers with a healthy set of numbers - prompting hopes that stronger sales in Europe will counter weakness in emerging markets. Hayley Platt reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins