Wireless sensor networks consisting of multiple objects, each capable of simple sensing, actuation, communication and processing have tremendous potential. To better realise their full capabilities researchers are developing a broad vision of innovative future applications.
Wireless sensor networks are a typical example of a network of ‘cooperating objects’, tiny embedded computers that cooperate together to produce an intended result. Such embedded systems, be they tiny processors in ‘intelligent clothing’ or the increasing numbers of computers in automobiles, are characterised by their need to interact with their immediate surroundings. However, it is only by cooperation with other objects that the full capabilities of such networks can be reached.
The problem faced by system designers is that, with so many cooperation possibilities with other networks, intelligent objects or even users themselves, how are they to know the best research direction to take? Which possibilities are likely to be taken up by society and industry globally, and which will turn out to be a blind alley?
Tara Morris | alfa
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