This 13 page paper examines the role of wireless senor networks and looks at how they are powered and considers the way they may be developed in the future. The paper starts by looking at the range of commercial military and other uses that sensor networks can are used for. The paper then discusses the way they are powered, including the use of batteries and power harvesting from heat and wind and the management of that power. The paper finished by considering the way the powering of wireless sensors may develop in the future. The bibliography cites 16 sources.
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Wireless sensors are becoming increasingly important in a wide variety of uses. Their development and proliferation can be argued as due to several technologies
being developed, the miniaturisation of the sensor nodes, the development of wireless technology and the development of power options that allow for the use of wireless sensors to be utilised.
Typically when a wireless sensor is used it can have three functions, the role of the sensor, communicating of sleeping when it is not needed. The level of these three
activities will be divergent, varying on the use of the senor network and the level of monitoring that is required. The design of the nodes will also be dependant on
the level of power that is available. A major concern with the wireless sensors is the power supply; they will not work without power, making their presence all but
useful if the power fails. Some sensors may only have a limited life so long term power is not always a consideration, whereas other sensors may have an almost indefinite
life and the use of a long term solution is sought. This is an area of ongoing research, relativity and stability of a power supply is challenging when there are
needs for ever smaller nodes. In some cases this may lead it a trade off of size of the unit against the need to provide power (Rex et al, 2001).
Tools and approaches that have been used in the past include the use of long life batteries as non renewable power sources
and power harvesting such as solar, wind and vibration energy. In addition the lifetime power can be managed more effectively where the power is controlled to avid waste (Rex et