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Sensor networks offer economically viable solutions for a variety of applications. For example, current implementations monitor factory instrumentation, pollution levels, freeway traffic, and the structural integrity of buildings. Other applications include climate sensing and control in office buildings and home environmental sensing systems for temperature, light, moisture, and motion. Sensor networks are key to the creation of smart spaces, which embed information technology in everyday home and work environments. The miniature wireless sensor nodes, or motes, developed from low-cost off-the-shelf components at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of its smart dust projects, establish a self-organizing sensor network when dispersed into an environment. The privacy and security issues posed by sensor networks represent a rich field of research problems. Improving network hardware and software may address many of the issues, but others will require new supporting technologies.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2003