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Several wireless networks of widely distributed smart sensors are in place or under development. They already include traffic, environmental, weather and earthquake monitors. Uses range from ordinary operations, safety and security through crisis management to military operations.Sensor networks are made possible because of the commercial availability of small and high performance sensors, inexpensive and facile micro-controllers, and multiple wireless communications options. Dozens of small sensors based on MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology are now on the market, some of which cost only a few dollars. They can be used to measure pressure,force, acceleration, angular rotation rates and other quantities. Families of micro-controllers are available from several large companies. They vary from small and low-power devices, with limitedcomputational capability, to fast systems that have on-board analog-to-digital converters and can be programmed in high level languages. Wireless communication options span the range from shortrange Bluetooth links through mid-range channels to global satellite systems. Integration of wireless links with the internet is increasingly common, so that even local systems of sensors can be read out or controlled globally. Methods for integrating sensors, micro-controllers and communications are presented. Examples of wireless sensor networks are surveyed and compared. Their scales range from a few to a few thousand sensor locations in regions as small as a building and as large as global.
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