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Embedded networked sensing systems have been successfully applied to environmental monitoring in a wide range of applications. These first results have demonstrated a potential for advancing fundamental environmental science methods and environmental management capability as well as for providing future methods for safeguarding public health. While substantial progress in sensor network performance has appeared, new challenges have also emerged. Specifically, the inevitable and unpredictable time evolution of environmental phenomena introduces sensing uncertainty and degrades the performance of event detection, environment characterization, and sensor fusion. Many of the physical obstacles encountered by static sensors may be circumvented by a new method, networked infomechanical systems (NIMS). NIMS integrates distributed, embedded sensing and computing systems with infrastructure-supported mobility to enable direct uncertainty characterization, autonomous adjustment of spatiotemporal sampling rate, and active sensor fusion. NIMS actuation is also being applied to advancing sensor network performance through methods based on control of distributed, directional antenna systems. In addition to advances in fundamental research objectives, this presentation will describe the architecture, implementation, and application of NIMS now deployed and continuously operating in the field.
Date of Conference: 12-17 June 2005