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New environmental monitoring sensor technology showcased

Briksdalsbreen Glacier
Briksdalsbreen Glacier

Sensor technologies geared towards understanding glacier dynamics and floodplains were exhibited at The Royal Academy of Engineering Annual Soirée and exhibition on Monday 27 June.

The GLACSWEB and FloodNet projects, which were both developed by scientists at the University of Southampton's Schools of Electronics & Computer Science (ECS) and Geography, demonstrate advances in pervasive computing and illustrate how networks of wireless sensor probes can be used to measure environmental conditions.

In the case of GLACSWEB, a network of probes have been installed in the sedimentary base of Europe's largest glacier at Briksdalsbreen in Norway so that the team could learn more about climate change through recording glacier behaviour.

The FloodNet project, which has completed its first phase, involved installing a wireless sensor network at specific points around a stretch of river in Essex. The sensor nodes collected information about the local environment which was fed back to the University of Southampton so that it could be used to model flood simulations to provide early warning of the threat of flooding.

Professor David De Roure, ECS's expert in Pervasive Computing, commented: 'We are very proud to be able to showcase these two projects based on pervasive computing. This is just the beginning. Pervasive computing devices provide an exciting opportunity for intelligent sensing of the natural environment.

'Continued improvements in technology will mean smaller, lower power and lower cost devices,' he added. 'Recent research has created novel methods for harvesting energy from the environment to provide self-powered microsystems, giving a glimpse of the degree of pervasiveness the future may hold.'

The GLACSWEB and FloodNeT projects are based in the Centre for Pervasive Computing in the Environment in the School of Electronics and Computer Science and funded by the DTI Next Wave Technologies and Markets Programme.

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 29 Jun 2005.