IMS - Intelligent Multi-Sensor Systems Research Group

Technical sensor systems extend and enhance the five human senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. Ordinary sensors are capable of recording the magnitude of over 100 physical, chemical and other conditions. Sensors “hear” sounds that tell us that a submarine is operating too loudly, that a machine is malfunctioning or is about to malfunction or that a person is ill with a specific respiratory disease. Other sensors “sniff out” chemicals to warn of the presence of toxic gases at hazardous levels. Still others use lasers and optical fibers to “see” cancerous tumors in parts of the human body. Special cameras combined with software provide “computer vision” (pattern recognition) that can be used to detect flaws in fabrics while they are being woven or even a terrorist looking for his opportunity.

Research on Smart Sensors in Health Care and Security Applications

The research conducted within the field of Sensors, Signals and Systems at BTH is related to the application of smart sensors in health care and security. This research examines new sensor and communication possibilities that may form a base for a new revolution in which computers provided with direct sensing capacities and communication abilities can interact directly with their environment. The sensor network combines four functions of the measurement system into one unit: gathering measurement data, receiving and/or transmitting data, data processing and information visualization and/or recording. A smart sensor can even automatically adapt itself within a certain range to changing conditions. This includes the adaptation to internal as well as external parameters. Adaptive systems are widely applicable and can be used, for example, in the fields of health care and security.

Application Fields

With the use of current and future communication technologies, information from sensors can be made available at any place on or above the earth. Sensors and sensor networks have become a highly active research area because of their potential of providing diverse services to a broad range of applications, not only in science and engineering, but equally importantly in fields such as health care, safety and security, environmental and civil infrastructure, as well as commercial industry and business: Health: Sensors embedded in clothing, networked with additional in-body sensors, continuously monitor our vital signs. The first indication of an impending heart attack or dangerously high blood pressure leads to early medical intervention. Surges in a diabetic's blood sugar levels, monitored continuously by minuscule sensors, trigger insulin delivery from an infusion pump, perfectly mimicking a healthy pancreas. A computer vision system, based on a multi sensor network, supports and provides security for elderly and handicapped people in their daily life. Safety and security: Wireless sensors can be scattered throughout a burning building to map hot spots. Simultaneously, the sensors provide an emergency communications network. Miniature chemical and biological sensors in hospitals, post offices, and transportation centres raise an alarm at the first sign of anthrax, smallpox, or other terror agents. Environmental and civil infrastructure: Networks of wireless humidity sensors monitor fire danger in remote forests. Nitrate sensors detect agricultural runoff in rivers, streams and wells, while distributed seismic monitors provide an early warning system for earthquakes. Meanwhile, built-in stress sensors report on the structural integrity of bridges, buildings and roadways, and other man-made structures. Industry and business: On the factory floor, networked vibration sensors warn that a bearing is beginning to fail. Mechanics schedule overnight maintenance, preventing an expensive unplanned shutdown. Inside a refrigerated grocery truck, temperature and humidity sensors monitor individual containers, reducing spoilage in fragile fish or produce.

Project leader ,Professor: Wlodek Kulesza

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