Posts Tagged ‘remote monitoring’

Arad Metering Technologies Conserves Water via Battery-Operated Drones

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

remote meter reader
Illustration by Chris Philpot

The word drone may sounds related to any contemporary sci-fi flicks, or images of attacks carried out remotely on hostile lands, or even your high-school biology teacher’s voice. We don’t expect a drone to help us save water, but that’s what Arad Metering Technologies intends to do. The Israeli company’s battery-operated drone is one of the novel tools it’s deploying to help consumers and companies conserve H2O — and to make money.

Such an idea would come out of Israel is no coincidence. The country is poor in water and rich in tech innovation, much of it born of constant military conflict. Israel pioneered the use of unmanned aerial vehicles after it lost many fighter jets in the 1973 war. But Arad’s drones don’t fight: They read data from the company’s patented water-meter system to detect leakage or, in irrigation systems, drought.

The World Bank estimates that water wastage costs utilities $14 billion a year worldwide; in developing countries, 200 million more people could be served by the water lost to leaks and theft. Arad CEO Dan Winter says this is largely a consequence of how the business works in places where water is cheap or untaxed: “You train people to abuse water because they pay very little.”

water-drone
Photos courtesy of Arad Technologies LTD

With this innovation, instead of meter reading – it can provide real time monitoring of water supply infrastructures. Its technology can find irregularities — a pipe failure, an unusually low flow rate, or a too-constant one that could indicate a leak — in a few hours, rather than every 60 days as with a typical meter reading.

Arad’s system is built around what looks like a standard meter. The difference is on the inside, where you’ll find 3G wireless technology, a microcontroller, and 20-year batteries. Every 11 to 30 seconds, the system transmits data, which can be picked up by a drone (best for quickly covering big distances in remote areas) or by a drive-by or fixed-base reader. The data are then analyzed by computer to gauge how much water has been consumed, how much was lost, and even where tampering may have taken place. As a result, companies can save both water and man hours.

The possibilities for Arad’s services go far beyond water should be covering abilities to monitor everything from municipal infrastructure, such as traffic lights, to security-camera networks — basically any complex system prone to localized failures and waste. Arad has its own way, to proof drones could be associated with saving, not destroying; life, not death.

Courtersy: Tree Hugger, Fast Company

Flood Triggered Automated Camera System (FTACS)

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

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When the Department of Natural Resources of Australia decided that they needed to capture data about the natural flooding of a cave, they turned to a hacker to get results. The goal was to photograph the area during these floods with an automated system. In the end, they used a gutted Lumix digital camera mounted in a trash can, covered in aluminium foil. Though it sounds a bit silly, the final product turned out quite nice. You can see the build log, schematics, and results on the project page.

In this case the event they are trying to capture pictures of a cave flood with a Flood Triggered Automated Camera System. The system consists of a camera that is connected to a moisture sensor so that the a camera can start taking pictures when the sensor gets wet. Pictures will continue to be taken every 15 minutes until the moisture levels go back to normal. Since it is being installed in a remote location it needed to be self sustaining.

The water sensor is an interesting design since it has the ability of killing the power to the entire system when the conditions are dry. This is done by using a Darlington transistor feeding a relay.

Courtesy of Penguins Lab

British police want UAVs to watch civilians during the 2012 Olympics

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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In what’s sure to be a popular idea, Britain’s Kent Police Department wants to use unmanned aerial vehicles to keep tabs on the massive crowds during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Now, before you start thinking that Ministries and doublethink are soon to follow, Olympic games mean a large influx of people to keep track of, and that means spreading security pretty thin.

Evidently UAV monitoring already has a precedent in Britain through the South Coast Partnership, which uses UAVs to patrol the country’s southern coast. UAVs aren’t yet cleared to fly the skies over London with other manned aircraft, however.

From Pop Sci:

So far, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Britain’s equivalent of the FAA, has not cleared UAVs to fly in the same airspace as manned aircraft. However, the Kent police department has petitioned the CAA to expedite the licensing processes so the police operated UAVs can take to the sky by the time the Olympics starts.

If it goes through, it’ll be interesting to see if it’s only a temporary measure for the Olympics, or if that level of surveillance remains in place in a city already dominated by CCTV security cameras.

The Guardian, via Futurismic, via Popular Science

NASA Uses UAVs to Spy on Climate Patterns

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

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Cloud Physics Lidar: A laser-based system that creates detailed images of clouds and mist.

Laser Hygrometer: Bounces a 1.3- micron infrared beam between two mirrors to measure water vapor in the atmosphere.

Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species: Uses an electron-capture detector to analyze air samples for harmful gases.

Micrometeorological Measurement System: A battery of sensors that record temperature, wind speed, and pressure.

Airborne Compact Atmospheric Mapper: A Nikon 8800 digicam that tracks cloud patterns by snapping images every 20 seconds, and two spectrographs that measure gases like the pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

image: nasa source: wired.com

Wireless and real-time health tracker

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

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A company calling its collective group of body monitoring products the WIN Human Recorder system has released a new device called the HRS-I. Designed to measure and record a person’s electrocardiographic signals, body surface temperature and overall body movements, the tiny unit can easily be worn under your shirt as you attend to your daily business.

The device communicates wirelessly with a remote base and can last on a single charge for up to three days. Targeted toward companies working to monitor employee health, the HRS-I can be purchased for just 30,000 yen ($331) and the monitoring service costs just 10,000 yen ($110) per month.

Via Nikkei

GlobalTrak Introduces New Radiation Detector on Wireless Remote Sensor Node

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:WbQIXjuJC_ZglM:http://www.maritimeinstituteonline.com/images/Container%2520Logistics%2520and%2520Documentation%2520Course%2520Photo.jpg GlobalTrak’s Remote Sensor Nodes (RSNs) increase the shipper’s ability to monitor cargo condition with a variable set of sensors for door status, humidity, temperature, a 3-axis accelerometer, and now an extremely sensitive gamma detector, a long term stable sensor with built-in temperature compensation and low power consumption.

Richard C. Meyers, CEO of GlobalTrak, described how the sensors on an RSN add important cargo data for GlobalTrak’s customers, “Remote Sensor Nodes send reports and real-time alerts to any GlobalTrak AMU over a ZigBee protocol wireless network, allowing the data to be communicated to stakeholders. This is a flexible and convenient way of placing sensors where they need to be within a loaded container, truck trailer, or railcar.”

In a radiation monitoring application, the GlobalTrak AMU is mounted on the exterior of the container, truck trailer, or railcar with one or more RSNs equipped with the gamma detector positioned inside the load in best detection positions. The detectors have low and high alarm thresholds to accommodate varying levels of background radiation, such as might be encountered in an ocean transit versus a land route.

The same ZigBee wireless network that allows RSNs to report their status through the AMU can be used to enhance shipment security by monitoring the status of EJ Brooks’ electronic strap seals on individual packages within the shipment or bolt seals on the door of a container, truck trailer, or rail car.

Source: MarketWatch

Image: MaritimeInstituteOnline

AVR-Based House Monitoring System

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The AVR-Based House Monitoring System is designed around the ATmega8515 microcontroller. The system offers hard-wired and wireless control along with a 1-Wire temperature network. A web-based, user-friendly interface enhances the project. [source]

AVR-Based House Monitoring System – [Download Project] [View Abstract]

Pachube, Youtube for sensors

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

This is pretty cool, but the name maybe needs a bit of work… just some additional informations about this interesting web service, previously covered in Realtime sensor network awaits your input or output

Pachube (pronounced “patch bay”) is a web service available at http://www.pachube.com that enables people to tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices and spaces around the world.The key aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual.

Apart from enabling direct connections between any two environments, it can also be used to facilitate many-to-many connections: just like a physical “patch bay” (or telephone switchboard) Pachube enables any participating project to “plug-in” to any other participating project in real time so that, for example, buildings, interactive installations or blogs can “talk” and “respond” to each other.

Source: WSN Blog Link , Original Link

Realtime sensor network awaits your input or output

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Pachube

Wow, this could grow into something quite awesome. Pachube is –

a web service that enables people to tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices and spaces around the world, facilitating interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual. The idea is to make it relatively simple to “plug” together interactive projects and buildings around the world, as well as to create embeddable graphs of sensor feeds.

Only eighteen feeds conected at the time of this post – but the datastreams are already quite interesting – from a Japanese living room to a swing in Sweden. Head over to the site to learn how to connect your own sensor/stream – Pachube

Source: MAKE

A wireless retrofit for remote monitoring

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Cambridge Consultants has demonstrated a one-chip platform called Vena which adds wireless technology to existing health monitors for just $10 per unit.

Vena includes support for both IEEE 11073 and the Bluetooth Medical Device Profile. Security is also built-in.

What we’re talking about is the use of unlicensed wireless frequencies, at short distances, to move data from a monitor to a PC and then, if necessary, out to the Internet.

I first wrote about this in 2003 as The World of Always On, and it is personally gratifying to see it come on-stream, especially as a retrofit.

As a retrofit, wireless technology should not need separate government approvals in each application. Once a device is approved, the retrofit is the mere transference of data.

This has tremendous potential in both critical care monitoring and wellness applications.

A real-time monitor with wireless capability could detect health attack precursors and order the ambulance before the patient was aware of symptoms.

In wellness, this would enable real-time tracking of workouts, catching “non-workout” exercise in, say, getting to and from the office, and detecting non-compliance with a coaching regimen.

Separately, but not coincidentally, Cambridge hired MIT Venture Mentor Craig Carlson to head its U.S. acquisition initiative. Read more…