This project, which is to be conducted by researchers from UNC Charlotte and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), addresses practical design issues for achieving reliable and uninterrupted operation of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) using harvested ambient energy. The challenge is that these energy sources are often subject to significant spatial and temporal variations. The goal of this project is to create a framework allowing rechargeable nodes to automatically adapt to estimated energy budgets while performing their required monitoring tasks. This adaptive framework is implemented at two levels. The first applies to transmission power control and energy-aware routing; while the second addresses adaptations to temporal variations using an adaptive level-crossing sampling scheme.
Intellectual Merit: The proposed research components may be applied to any rechargeable sensor network. The proposed cooperative power control method can potentially solve the overhearing problem, which is a key issue in large-scale wireless sensor networks. The energy-aware and load-balanced routing problems considered here address the unique requirement of meeting specific energy budgets. These network-level solutions are integrated with an adaptive application-level solution designed to overcome the challenges introduced by energy variations.
Broader Impacts: This research addresses a critical issue that is currently of wide interest in the research community. In addition, this project will make educational impacts on UNC-Charlotte students by offering two graduate courses and creating graduate level research projects. This project will bridge the gap between theoretical research and applications and will facilitate stronger research collaborations between the academic and industrial partners involved.