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Wireless sensor networks are an important research area that has attracted considerable attention. Most of this attention, however, has been concentrated on WSNs that collect scalar data such as temperature and vibration. Scalar data can be insufficient for many applications such as automated surveillance and traffic monitoring. In contrast, camera sensors collect visual data, which are rich in information and hence offer tremendous potential when used in WSNs. However, they raise new challenges such as the transmission of visual data with high computational and bandwidth requirements in mainly low-power visual sensor networks. In this article we highlight the challenges and opportunities of VSNs. We discuss major research issues of VSNs, specifically camera coverage optimization, network architecture, and low-power visual data processing and communication, and identify enabling approaches in this area.