Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Sensors See the Forest for the Trees

Barro Colorado Island, a Panamanian nature preserve, is deploying wireless-sensor networks in order to monitor the conditions of the rain forest from its home base.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 01, 2008Barro Colorado Island, a nature preserve in Panama administered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, is one of the most studied rainforest ecosystems in the world. But keeping track of environmental changes deep inside the rain forest has been difficult and expensive, says Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, a professor at the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "In the past," he says, "we've used sensors with cables that often get cut by people traveling through the rain forest and using machetes to clear their paths, or chewed by animals."

Now, wireless-sensor networks—intelligent RFID tags that send and receive sensor data by forming ad hoc networks—will be the eyes and ears of researchers in the rain forest. But finding sensors that would work in the jungle wasn't easy, Sanchez-Azofeifa says. Olsonet, an Ottawa-based startup, created a customized solution that includes secure housing for the sensors, so they could withstand the rigors of the moist environment and its many inhabitants. "You don't want monkeys stealing the sensors," says Pawel Gburzynski, chief scientist at Olsonet and a professor at the University of Alberta's Department of Computing Science.


Wireless-sensor networks will be the eyes and ears of researchers in the rain forest, allowing them to monitor conditions from their home base.

The researchers will deploy hundreds of the battery-powered sensors at varying heights—from the jungle floor to high in the tree canopy—that will communicate in the ultrahigh-frequency band using a proprietary protocol. The sensors will collect environmental data—for instance, light and temperature—and send it to a main aggregator, which will process the data and forward it to a gateway, such as a laptop with Internet connectivity.

Sanchez-Azofeifa says the greatest benefit of using wireless-sensor networks to track conditions inside the rain forest will be the constant remote connectivity they'll provide. Researchers will be able to monitor and analyze the data that the sensors collect without having to travel to the rain forest, saving time and money, and allowing the team to pursue multiple projects simultaneously from their home base.

Sanchez-Azofeifa and his team plan to deploy the sensor system—which is currently being vetted in a building that houses the university's agriculture and forestry departments, as part of a demonstration project dubbed Econet—this fall. The system will combine location and environmental data and plot it on a three-dimensional grid, creating an MRI of the forest. Sanchez-Azofeifa says he has a network of research partners in the Amazon who are following the project closely, because they're keen to deploy the sensors there for similar studies.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 421 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco