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Proceedings Paper

A reconfigurable computing platform for plume tracking with mobile sensor networks
Author(s): Byung Hwa Kim; Colin D'Souza; Richard M. Voyles; Joel Hesch; Stergios I. Roumeliotis
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Paper Abstract

Much work has been undertaken recently toward the development of low-power, high-performance sensor networks. There are many static remote sensing applications for which this is appropriate. The focus of this development effort is applications that require higher performance computation, but still involve severe constraints on power and other resources. Toward that end, we are developing a reconfigurable computing platform for miniature robotic and human-deployed sensor systems composed of several mobile nodes. The system provides static and dynamic reconfigurability for both software and hardware by the combination of CPU (central processing unit) and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) allowing on-the-fly reprogrammability. Static reconfigurability of the hardware manifests itself in the form of a "morphing bus" architecture that permits the modular connection of various sensors with no bus interface logic. Dynamic hardware reconfigurability provides for the reallocation of hardware resources at run-time as the mobile, resource-constrained nodes encounter unknown environmental conditions that render various sensors ineffective. This computing platform will be described in the context of work on chemical/biological/radiological plume tracking using a distributed team of mobile sensors. The objective for a dispersed team of ground and/or aerial autonomous vehicles (or hand-carried sensors) is to acquire measurements of the concentration of the chemical agent from optimal locations and estimate its source and spread. This requires appropriate distribution, coordination and communication within the team members across a potentially unknown environment. The key problem is to determine the parameters of the distribution of the harmful agent so as to use these values for determining its source and predicting its spread. The accuracy and convergence rate of this estimation process depend not only on the number and accuracy of the sensor measurements but also on their spatial distribution over time (the sampling strategy). For the safety of a human-deployed distribution of sensors, optimized trajectories to minimize human exposure are also of importance. The systems described in this paper are currently being developed. Parts of the system are already in existence and some results from these are described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 May 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6230, Unmanned Systems Technology VIII, 62301I (9 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.668961
Show Author Affiliations
Byung Hwa Kim, Univ. of Minnesota (United States)
Colin D'Souza, Univ. of Minnesota (United States)
Richard M. Voyles, Univ. of Minnesota (United States)
Joel Hesch, Univ. of Minnesota (United States)
Stergios I. Roumeliotis, Univ. of Minnesota (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6230:
Unmanned Systems Technology VIII
Grant R. Gerhart; Charles M. Shoemaker; Douglas W. Gage, Editor(s)

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