Wireless sensor networks (WSN) have tremendous potential in many environmental and structural health monitoring applications including, gas, temperature, pressure and humidity monitoring, motion detection, and hazardous materials detection. Recent advances in CMOS-technology, IC manufacturing, and networking utilizing Bluetooth communications have brought down the total power requirements of wireless sensor nodes to as low as a few hundred microwatts. Such nodes can be used in future dense ad-hoc networks by transmitting data 1 to 10 meters away. For communication outside 10 meter ranges, data must be transmitted in a multi-hop fashion. There are significant implications to replacing large transmission distance WSN with multiple low-power, low-cost WSN. In addition, some of the relay nodes could be mounted on mobile robotic vehicles instead of being stationary, thus increasing the fault tolerance, coverage and bandwidth capacity of the network. The foremost challenge in the implementation of a dense sensor network is managing power consumption for a large number of nodes. The traditional use of batteries to power sensor nodes is simply not scalable to dense networks, and is currently the most significant barrier for many applications. Self-powering of sensor nodes can be achieved by developing a smart architecture which utilizes all the environmental resources available for generating electrical power. These resources can be structural vibrations, wind, magnetic fields, light, sound, temperature gradients and water currents. The generated electric energy is stored in the matching media selected by the microprocessor depending upon the power magnitude and output impedance. The stored electrical energy is supplied on demand to the sensors and communications devices. This paper shows the progress in our laboratory on powering stationary and mobile untethered sensors using a fusion of energy harvesting approaches. It illustrates the prototype hardware and software required for their implementation including MEMS pressure and strain sensors mounted on mobile robots or stationary, power harvesting modules, interface circuits, algorithms for interrogating the sensor, wireless data transfer and recording.

J. M.
M. J.
da Silva
J. L.
, “
PicoRadio Supports AdHoc Ultra-Low Power Wireless Netwroking
IEEE Computer
B. Gates, “The disappearing computer”, The Economist, Special Issue: The World in 2003”, December, 99 (2002).
Hitachi, “Hitachi unveils smallest RFID chip”, RFID Journal, March 14, (2003).
T. Douseki et al., “A 0.5V SIMOX-MTCMOS Circuit with 200ps Logic Gate”, ISSCC Dig. Tech. Papers, 84 (1996).
T. leki et al., “300 MHz Band SAW Oscillator with low power consumption”, Proc. IEICE, September, 39 (1996).
S. Roundy, P. K. Wright, J. M. Rabaey, “Energy Scavenging for Wireless Sensor Networks”, Kluwer Academic Pub., Boston, 2004.
E. H. Calaway Jr., “Wireless Sensor Networks”, Auerbach Pub., NY 2004.
, and
, “
Realization of high-energy density polycrystalline piezoelectric ceramics
Appl. Phys. Lett.
D.O. Popa, A.C. Sanderson, R.J. Komerska, S.S. Mupparapu, D.R. Blidberg, S.G. Chappel, “Adaptive sampling algorithms for multiple autonomous underwater vehicles”, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, 2004 IEEE/OES, pp. 108- 118, 17–18 June 2004.
G. Anastasi, M. Conti, E. Gregori, A Falchi, A. Passarella, “Performance Measurements of Mote Sensor Networks”, Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Wireless and Mobile System, Venice (Italy), October 4–6, 2004.
M.F. Mysorewala, D.O. Popa, V. Giordano, F.L., Lewis, “Deployment Algorithms and In-Door Experimental Vehicles for Studying Mobile Wireless Sensor Networks”, in Proceedings of 2nd ACIS International Workshop on Self-Assembling Wireless Networks (SAWN), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, June 2006.
D. O. Popa, M. F. Mysorewala, and F. L. Lewis, “EKF-based Adaptive Sampling with Mobile Robotic Sensor Nodes”, to appear in Proceedings of International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Beijing, China, October 2006.
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.