Droplet sized sensors form latest security tool

March 27th, 2009 - 1:49 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 27 (IANS) ‘Smart Dew’, a remarkable network of sensors as tiny as dewdrops, will lurk unseen as the latest security tool to foil the most determined intruder, from a thief to a terrorist.
Dozens, hundreds and even thousands of these Smart Dew sensors - each equipped with a controller and RF transmitter/receiver - can also be wirelessly networked to detect the difference between man, animal, car and truck.

Scattered outdoors on rocks, fence posts and doorways, or indoors on the floor of a bank, the dewdrops are a completely new and cost-effective system for safeguarding and securing wide swathes of property.

Yoram Shapira, professor at Tel Aviv University (TAU) faculty of engineering and his team drew upon the space-age science of motes to develop the new security tool.

“We’ve created a generic system that has no scale limitations,” said Shapira. This makes it especially useful for large farms or even the borders of nations where it’s difficult, and sometimes impractical, to install fences or constantly patrol them.

“Most people could never afford the manpower to guard such large properties,” explained Shapira. “Instead, we’ve created this Smart Dew to do the work. It’s invisible to an intruder, and can provide an alarm that someone has entered the premises.”

Each droplet can detect an intrusion within 50 metres (about 165 feet). And at a cost of 25 cents per “droplet”, Shapira said his solution is the cheapest and the smartest on the market. A part of the appeal of Smart Dew is its near-invisibility, he added.

“Smart Dew is a covert monitoring system. Because the sensors in the Smart Dew wireless network are so small, you would need bionic vision to notice them. There would be so many tiny droplets over the monitored area that it would be impossible to find each and every one.”

Unlike conventional alarm systems, each droplet of Smart Dew can be programmed to monitor a different condition. Sounds could be picked up by a miniature microphone.

The metal used in the construction of cars and tractors could be detected by a magnetic sensor. Smart Dew droplets could also be programmed to detect temperature changes, carbon monoxide emissions, vibrations or light.

Each droplet sends a radio signal to a “base station” that collects and analyses the data. Like the signals sent out by cordless phones, RF is a safe, low-power solution, making Shapira’s technology extremely cost-effective compared to other concepts, said a TAU release.

“It doesn’t require much imagination to envision the possibilities for this technology to be used,” concluded Shapira. “They are really endless.”

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