Today, we use sensors for a myriad of activities such as intrusion detection, fall detection, patient surveillance, art and goods preservation, offspring care, animal tracking, selective irrigation, and many more. Where the sensor network has to operate outdoors, what can be a better way of powering them other than through solar means?
Using an external or internal solar panel, one can safely recharge batteries for the system. For external solar panels, the panel is usually mounted on a holder tilted at a suitable angle ensuring the maximum performance of the outdoor installation. When space is a major challenge, such as indoors, the solar panel can be embedded on the front of the enclosure. Typical rechargeable batteries used for powering loads are rated 6600mAh, and this ensures the sensors do not stop working even when the sun is not providing adequate light.
Such platforms of wireless sensor networks provide solutions for Smart Cities. Waspmote Plug & Sense! from Libelium is a system of encapsulated wireless sensor devices that allow system integrators to implement modular wireless sensor networks in a scalable manner. The Libelium system reduces the installation from days to just hours.
Each node of a Waspmote Plug & Sense! comes with six connectors. You can connect sensor probes to these connectors directly and the system is ready to install and easy to deploy. Using connectors ensures that the services remain scalable and sustainable. The possibility of powering the platform through solar power allows energy harvesting and years of autonomy.
Once the sensors have been installed, the nodes on the Waspmote Plug & Sense! can be programmed wirelessly. This is possible because of the special feature, OTAP or Over The Air Programming, incorporated into the platform. Thanks to OTAP, users can replace or add sensors without having to uninstall any of the nodes. This helps to keep the maintenance levels within reasonable limits. For example, to extend the service, you can easily add a noise sensor to a network consisting of CO2 probes, simply by attaching it.
The applications are endless for the Waspmote Plug & Sense! platforms. Apart from Smart Cities, the models are preconfigured for creating other widely applicable services out of the box, such as radiation control, ambient control, smart security, air quality, smart agriculture, smart parking and so many more.
You can use these sensor platforms anywhere in the world, as they use the generally available radio frequencies 2.4GHz and 868/900MHz, besides complying with certification standards such as CE, FCC, and IC. Usually, these sensor platforms send information to a sensor gateway that in turn, uploads the data to a cloud service. Therefore, the data is accessible from anywhere in the world and users can integrate it easily into third-party applications.
Use of solar-powered wireless sensor networks makes it so easy for adding a new sensor that municipalities find they do not have to reinstall the network for Smart Cities. The solution reduces the complexity of the installation and its maintenance, while providing it with a high degree of scalability. Available with IP65 enclosures for outdoor deployment and no software license fees, these platforms offer remarkable opportunities.