chapter  10
11 Pages

Environmental Effects

WithDavid C. Swanson

Sensor networks can be significantly impacted by environmental effects from electromagnetic (EM) fields, temperature, humidity, background noise, obscuration, and for acoustic sensors outdoors, the effects of wind, turbulence, and temperature gradients. The prudent design strategy for intelligent sensors is to, at a minimum, characterize and measure the environmental effect on the sensor information reported while also using best practices to minimize any negative environmental effects. This approach can be seen as essential information reporting by sensors, rather than simple data reporting. Information reporting by sensors allows the data to be put into the context of the environmental and sensor system conditions, which translates into a confidence metric for proper use of the information. Reporting information, rather than data, is consistent with data fusion hierarchies and global situational awareness goals of the sensor network.