Tracking via Micro Sensor Constellations

Posted by on Sep 21, 2010 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’d just written a post about relative positioning and how micro sensor constellations could help, then straight into the car for a drive, with the notion still mulling over in my head.  At the end of the article, I talk about tracking people or assets on a freighter, when I realised, I still had my head in the GPS paradigm, rather than thinking from a sensor network perspective.

What I proposed was this, that sensors with a known position relative to the freighter, transmit their signal, allowing anyone with a suitable receiver on board to note positions on board.  In effect, building a local GPS type system.

The Ah-huh moment came to me though, when I realised that it was the wrong way around, and only allowed for limited application.  As such, here’s my current thinking.

Take your environment, be it a boat, mine or building, and populate it with sensors.  Each of these sensors know their position relative to the environment.  Don’t forget we’re talking three dimensions now.  This is the constellation, but instead of transmitting a signal with position, they wait, ready to receive signals.  Now we can put transmitting sensors on anything we want to track.  Why is this better, well for starters, sensors are cheap and small.  We’re talking in the order or ten dollars or so, and small, say the size of a USB connector.  Say we’re on a boat.  Fit each crew member with a sensor fob, and rather than the crew member tracking their location, the network constantly tracks him or her.  In a mine, we now know where all plant and personnel are  In a warehouse we can find individual consignments by location, not having to rely on a manifest.

I’m sure you can imagine that there is no end to the application of this type of technology.  It’s lots of fun though, mulling the possibilities over in the mind.

How could this make a difference to what you do?

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