A wireless sensor network system developed by Lockheed Martin can revolutionize the way users obtain discreet persistent situational awareness and characterization of their surroundings.
The Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network (SPAN) system, a network of "Field-and Forget" ground sensors, provides unobtrusive, continuous surveillance supporting multiple missions and applications.
"SPAN is a mesh network of self-organizing, self-healing sensors," said Macy W. Summers, Vice President with Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense. "The typical sensor fits in the palm of your hand and can be readily concealed in camouflage housings."
SPAN's innovative power management harvests energy from its surroundings to provide perpetually powered sensors. Its ultra low sensor cost is predicated on the fact that each node within the SPAN network incorporates an energy harvesting subsystem that re-charges itself using simple energy sources in its surrounding environment. This innovation negates typical life and cost concerns of batteries and reduces the manual deployment and servicing. Battery life can be a critical differentiator when determining the safety of those in harm's way.
The system's sensor network uses a touch screen interface to position the nodes. Information from this mesh is locally processed using proprietary algorithms that reduce false alarms, providing intelligent situational awareness that can be integrated in military, border patrol and structural monitoring applications. This smart sensor network can cue a camera or unmanned aerial vehicle to further study an area or call an engineer when a pipeline or bridge structure is in danger of fracture.
The system's lighter power demand extends operational range, and its inconspicuous sensors reduce the likelihood of discovery and tampering, increasing the realization of persistent surveillance. Offering uses beyond physical security applications, SPAN can easily address needs for bridge, pipeline, aircraft and other structural monitoring requirements.