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CESG Seminar: Development and Application of Low-Cost Wireless Sensor Nodes

January 29, 2013 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Room 1020 ETB (Emerging Tech. Building)

Ronnie Killough, Southwest Research Institute


In recent years there has been substantial research conducted into wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies.  Relevant areas include research in ad hoc and self-organizing network protocols, efforts to develop small low-power sensor nodes, and research in micro- and nano-scale sensor technologies.  While some of these technologies have now become commercially available (e.g. mesh networking products and the Mote from Crossbow®), deploying WSNs still requires substantial custom development and integration.  Each application necessitates some level of uniqueness in terms of packaging, communication, data storage, deployment and mobility, composition of the sensor suite, and/or data processing.  Custom solutions are typically expensive, but the nature of many sensing applications dictates low cost.  Since 2006, SwRI has been conducting research in wireless sensing, with particular emphasis on low cost, expendable water-borne sensor nodes.  This seminar will present the evolution of that research and discuss some of the technical challenges that have been encountered and how those challenges have been addressed.  Samples of previously deployed sensor nodes will be available for inspection.

Bio: Ronnie Killough is a 1987 graduate of Angelo State University and a 1990 graduate of Texas A&M University.  He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science, with minor concentrations in electrical engineering, accounting and finance.  Ronnie is currently Director of the Communications and Embedded Systems Department at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and oversees several areas of technology including network-centric systems, tactical communications, cyber security, wireless sensors, smart energy systems, and high-reliability software.  As a research & development organization, SwRI is focused on creating and investigating the latest technologies and transforming those technologies into solutions for our clients.

With a degree in computer science, Ronnie’s career could have consisted of a life of cubicles and computer terminals.  However in his twenty-two years at SwRI, Ronnie has found himself developing a high-fidelity cruise missile simulator, working alongside flight controllers in the space shuttle control center in Houston, donning a wetsuit and cave helmet to deploy sensor technology, watching in awe at the launch of a Delta-II rocket carrying a satellite executing software he helped develop, and riding around in a HMMWV in the desert supporting a military exercise.  Ronnie believes the core of innovation is connecting things–technologies, ideas, problems and opportunities.  Ronnie’s passion is in making these connections, having fun doing it, and mentoring others to do the same.

Host:  Jiang Hu


January 29, 2013
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm