Tutorial: Wireless Sensor Networks

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Wireless Sensor Networks

Pedro M. B. Silva Girão

Department of Electrical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon


Wireless sensor networks are, as the name indicates, wireless networks whose nodes are devices with sensing capabilities usually materialized by what is commonly called smart sensors. This type of distributed measuring system, which is still at an early stage of development, finds application in an increasing number of fields: environmental monitoring, habitat monitoring, health monitoring, military surveillance, precision or smart agriculture, process monitoring, stock control, just to mention a few. It is  a  multidisciplinary  subject  involving  in  particular  sensors,  electronics,  signal processing, programming and telecommunications.

In  the  tutorial,  and  after  introducing  and  framing  wireless  sensor  networks, the different  aspects involved in the design and implementation of such type of measuring systems are presented and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on the state-of-the-art and principal difficulties still to overcome in the different components of the network. To open the discussion on the subject, the tutorial will end with the presentation of up to four examples taken from the author’s experience: rivers/lakes/ocean water quality monitoring, ambulatory patients’ health monitoring, smart agriculture in greenhouses, and composting monitoring and control.


Pedro Silva Girão (M’00–SM’01) is a Full Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, and a Senior Researcher, the Head of the Instrumentation and Measurements Group, and the Coordinator of the Basic Sciences and Enabling Technologies of the Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT). His main research interests include instrumentation, transducers, measurement techniques, and digital data processing, particularly for biomedical and environmental applications. Metrology, quality, and electromagnetic compatibility are also areas of regular activity.

Dr. Girão is a Senior Member of the IEEE, Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE/I&MS, and a regular reviewer of  IEEE  Trans.  on  Instrumentation  and  Measurement,  Trans.  on  Biomedical  Circuits  and  Systems, Sensors Journal, and Signal Processing Letters and member of the technical program committee of IEEE IMTC,  SPICES,  SSD,  CIVEMSA,  Sensors  and  MeMeA  (co-chair  in  2014)  and  maintains  a  strong relationship with IMEKO, being a member of the Advisory Board and Honorary Chair of TC-19.