Battery-powered magnetic sensor network
The Task: For a new product in the transportation industry, a US-based small business required a system for collecting magnetic readings through a wireless sensor network.
The Challenge: While hooking a magnetic sensor to a microcontroller and a cellular transmitter does not sound like a big task, other parameters made this project really interesting.… Data was to be collected over a big area spanning hundreds of feet; the environment promised very high temperatures and humidity; and it had to run unattended on battery for months or years at a time. Plus, there were mechanical components to be controlled and monitored.
The Project: With some components fixed by the client, we evolved a design through several steps of prototyping into a working system. Power usage and dissipation was a key factor, as was remote monitoring of systems. Both sensing and controlling needed to be incorporated. An existing API interacted with the remote unit. Different types of microcontrollers and their firmware came into play to deliver specific services. We found a way to establish communication between hundreds of sensors spread out over long distances. I took the system all the way to evaluation. Will post links later once they have gone public.