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Smart Environment Monitoring & Analysis Technologies (SEMAT)

This project seeks to develop new, commercially-focused technologies in wireless sensor networks. SEMAT is funded in part by the Queensland Government National and International Research Alliance Program (NIRAP).
Smart Environment Monitoring & Analysis Technologies (SEMAT)

SEMAT Mk2 Prototype Buoy

Overview

The Smart Environment Monitoring and Analysis Technologies (SEMAT) project is largely driven by the need to create a low cost intelligent sensor network system for monitoring aquatic and coastal environments, and importantly the analysis of that data into information which can be used for management and planning.  The specific goals for SEMAT are as follows:

1) Underwater wireless communications – As aquatic environments are remote and vast, it is not economically viable or practical to have sensors wired together.  Often in such an environment the positioning of the cables represents a significant practical problem.  The cable itself is also vulnerable to breakage or degradation over time.  (Read more.)

2) Short-range wireless and power transmission – Interconnecting cables for data communications and/or power in-situ is complex in a marine environment.  SEMAT aims to develop technologies whereby neighboring cables can be connected underwater and inductive methods used transfer power and data between nodes.  (Read more.)

3) Plug and Play – A major problem facing the deployment of wireless sensor networks is the disparate technologies used as equipment must be combined from different manufacturers.  Even the simple case of adding a new type of sensor usually involves reconfiguring the entire system so that the end user can view the sensor’s output.  SEMAT will use SAL to allow new equipment to be added to the network such that it is instantly recognized and configured for use.  This is analogous to plugging in a new peripheral device for a computer such as a printer or mouse, which the operating system automatically detects and allows instant use.  Making a wireless sensor network plug and play removes much of the technical overhead for managing the network by novices.  (Read more.)

4) Minimal deployment expertise – SEMAT will offer end users a complete package.  The end user will only need to choose what sensors they require and SEMAT will auto-configure the necessary parameters.  Essentially once deployed, the user could take a laptop down to the beach (for example) and can begin to view the sensed data.  (Read more.)

5) Near real time analysis tools – SEMAT will provide software tools that allow data to be streamed in near real-time from sensors.  Users will have the ability to buffer large amounts of data and sift through the data at hand using the RBNB Data Turbine.  Data collected is put into a format that is recognised by standards bodies (i.e., Sensor Web Enablement) and therefore can be imported into sophisticated data modeling and visualisation tools.  (Read more.)

6) Intelligent sensors – Sensor nodes in SEMAT will have a level of intelligence in that they have two way communications with each other.  This will allow sensors to have a degree of autonomy from the end user such that if there is a sudden change in a condition which affects the phenomena under study, then sensor nodes can communicate with each other to change their parameters to better study the changes in the environment.  For example, if one set of sensors detects that significant rainfall is occurring, it might communicate with the salinity sensor to increase its sensing rate from daily to hourly.  There are almost limitless uses for such intelligence.  (Read more.)

Click here to view a video presentation by Associate Professor Ron Johnstone about SEMAT and the role of wireless sensor networks in the marine environment.

Personnel

SEMAT draws on a large multidisciplinary team that spans both academia and industry.

Deployment Information

SEMAT is deploying prototype systems to test developed technologies in the field using real-world scientific modelling applications.  SEMAT is being trialled in the following locations:

Prototype Buoys

The development of SEMAT technologies proceeds in a series of stages as the system is refined.  The following prototypes have been developed:

The majority of the prototype equipment is by off the shelf purchases to prove the feasibility of the commodity-based approach. A complete list of vendors can be found here.

Publications

A list of SEMAT-related publications can be found here.

University of QueenslandDHI Politecnico di Milano ARC Research Network on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing Torino Wireless JCU Logo QCIF Logo

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