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A comprehensive scheme for reconfigurable energy-aware wireless sensor nodes

Weddell, Alexander Stewart (2010) A comprehensive scheme for reconfigurable energy-aware wireless sensor nodes University of Southampton, School of Electronics and Computer Science, Doctoral Thesis , 229pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Wireless sensor nodes are devices that perform measurements (of parameters such as temperature or vibration) and communicate over a wireless medium. A key benefit is that they can operate autonomously. Nodes are commonly battery-powered so that they can be deployed rapidly without the need to install a wired power supply; however, batteries must be changed when depleted and this can impose a costly maintenance requirement. Energy harvesting is an emerging field, which offers the possibility for nodes to be powered indefinitely from environmental energy (such as light, vibration, or temperature difference). The power generated from environmental energy is often limited and variable, and nodes must be able to adapt their operation to take account of the power available. There have been a number of demonstrations of wireless sensor nodes powered from harvested energy, but existing demonstrators are tailored for specific types of energy resource (constraining their use to applications with suitable energy availability). The existing interfaces between the energy hardware and the nodes' embedded software is bespoke and limited to specific devices, so it is impossible to exchange the energy hardware to adapt to differing energy availability.

The work described in this thesis delivers a comprehensive scheme for reconfigurable energy-aware sensor nodes, which overcomes the limitations of the existing systems and allows the energy hardware for sensor nodes to be connected together in a plug-and-play manner. The scheme has been evaluated by way of a prototype which accommodates a range of energy devices. The main contributions of this research are threefold: firstly, the system is enabled by a new hardware interface between the energy devices and sensor node; secondly, an embedded software structure is implemented to interface with the energy hardware; and thirdly, efficient energy-aware modules compliant with the scheme have been produced. The combined result is a novel energy subsystem for wireless sensor nodes that supports a range of energy devices and can deliver energy-aware operation for a range of microcontroller platforms, while imposing a minimal additional resource requirement to deliver this functionality.

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Published date: May 2010
Keywords: energy harvesting, energy scavenging, wireless sensor networks
Organisations: University of Southampton, EEE


Local EPrints ID: 301184
PURE UUID: 92eb8472-61f4-40a5-9ef6-62279940d327
ORCID for Alexander Stewart Weddell: ORCID iD
ORCID for Neil White: ORCID iD
ORCID for Nicholas Harris: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 02 Apr 2012 16:01
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:13

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Author: Alexander Stewart Weddell ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Neil White ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Nicholas Harris ORCID iD

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