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The availability and diffusion of wireless sensor nodes, personal communication devices (e.g., smartphones), as well as application-specific devices (e.g., surveillance cameras) has changed the typical sensing application scenarios where data are collected from the environment for the purpose of monitoring a phenomenon and detecting events. The combination of highly heterogeneous devices, in terms of sensing, processing, and communication capabilities, has become a key feature to collaborative, distributed, and multimodal sensing applications. However, the heterogeneity of devices also raises a number of challenges for the application developers. In this paper, we present a general software framework for heterogeneous and multimedia wireless sensor networks. The framework abstracts from the individual sensing devices and platforms, and enables collaborative and distributed sensing applications. We present a reference application scenario represented by Assisted Living Environments (ALEs).We show the potential of our proposed framework by a preliminary testbed implementation consisting in a multimodal application for fall detection of elderly people.