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HAMMER Combines RFID, GPS, Mapping, Sensor Technologies

A research project supported by government funding has generated a device with potential use in a range of applications, such as mapping archeological sites.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Britt says that once the sites are mapped and tagged, he will save that information to the tags' memory. Thus, as long as other archeological crews have access to a reader able to pick up that data, they will be able to visit and examine the site without first having to perform all the mapping work he will have already completed.

Brit says he may return to the sites at a later date and upload sensor data from the tags to determine whether the sites had been disturbed by digging, or from vibrations caused by military trucks driving too close to the sites. Timestamps saved on the tags, he explains, would tell him when the disturbances occurred.

A network of seismic sensors can be installed at the archeological sites to work with the HAMMER device.
But the possible applications for the HAMMER, Britt and Bjornberg explain, extend well beyond those of Britt and his team of archeologists. "The HAMMER is the bedrock of the platform," says Bjornberg, "but it could be used with [tags linked to] any kind of sensor. Radiological sensors, proximity, temperature or acoustic sensors could be used."

Bjornberg adds that the HAMMER has a modular design that will allow end users to add or remove many of its components. They might decide, for instance, to retrofit the HAMMER so it can communicate with sensors communicate using the IEEE 802.14 ZigBee standard for wireless personal area networks.

According to Bjornberg and Britt, engineers, military planners, emergency first responders, intelligence analysts, public works officials, environmental scientists, natural and cultural resource managers, surveyors, compliance officers, risk managers and real property managers are all among the possible end users for the HAMMER.

Compass Systems has filed a patent for the HAMMER and is presently looking for the funding or manufacturing partners it would need to bring the device to market.

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