Project Summary

Call: FP6-IST-2005-2.5.3 Embedded Systems
Contract Number: IST-034963
Duration: Sep 2006 to Oct 2010

Final WASP fact sheet.
Final WASP project summary.

Main objective

Over the past few decades, Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have attracted a lot of interest as they could enable a wide range of novel applications and business propositions. However, despite promising research results and improved hardware offerings, industry remains reluctant to adopt WSN solutions for commercial deployments. To a large extent, this is due to a mismatch between technical research results and practical enterprise needs like sufficient evidence of successful WSN usage, cost-efficient solutions for WSN development, maintenance, or integration in enterprise information systems. The WASP project aimed to facilitate WSN adoption by bringing together relevant stakeholders from different disciplines, each having their own professional vocabulary and skills, to derive generic (hence cost-efficient) solutions and demonstrate their use in real-life, application-optimized prototypical deployments.

Application-driven approach

WASP activities have been driven by application needs within three distinctly different domains that have been selected for their societal relevance and potential benefit from WSN-based solutions. The first domain is elderly care where, driven by an ageing society, cost-efficient solutions are desired to unobtrusively monitor individual elderly persons and, thereby, to improve personalized support in semi-independent living settings. In livestock farming, the interest in automated WSN-based solutions to monitor individual animals is driven by the trend towards larger farm sizes that, for example, in case of dairy farms is expected in response to the abandonment of the EU milk quota system in 2015. In automotive applications, the rapid development of new in-vehicle sensor applications calls for wireless solutions that avoid the cost, weight, and freedom of placement problems faced by today’s wired solutions.
From the study of various application scenarios, generic and application-specific requirements have been derived that are relevant from the perspective of (non-technical) end users and (technical) system developers. Typical generic requirements are reliable and easy-to-use (“turn-key”) solutions for unobtrusive monitoring of individual persons, animals, or objects, preferably through existing enterprise information systems and complementing practical workflows. More application-specific requirements relate to the compliance to specific reporting standards, the type of remote services (monitoring and/or alert), actual WSN deployment conditions, and Quality of Service (QoS) and privacy/security requirements.
To focus the translation of requirements into a consistent chain of solutions, i.e. components, interfaces, and tools, real-life test bed deployments have been pursued in a dairy test farm in Lelystad (The Netherlands) and the elderly care test bed at Imperial College London (UK).

System view

The overall WASP system is sketched in (the center column of) Figure 1 and covers the complete chain from wireless sensor nodes up to remote (enterprise) applications. A central place is taken by the WASP gateway that makes WSN services, running on the wireless sensor nodes, accessible to remote (enterprise) applications through a set of web services. These web services decouple enterprise and embedded applications and allow the developers of these applications to work independently of each other, as long as they stick to the interfaces defined via these web services. In this manner, the WASP gateway makes it much easier to develop application-optimized solutions. Moreover, the WASP gateway makes WSN services accessible directly using low-power WASP network solutions or indirectly through IP-based connections over WLAN or GPRS. This extends WSN coverage for indoor or outdoor settings.

Sketch of WASP main objectives (right side), hierarchical system view (middle), and selected application domains and scenarios (top)

Sketch of WASP main objectives (right side), hierarchical system view (middle), and selected application domains and scenarios (top)

Integration choices

State-of-the-art sensor nodes have been used for which, given their tightly constrained resources (battery, compute, storage), light-weight embedded solutions have been selected to provide the required system functionality. For example, light-weight program support and service discovery protocols automatically discover services when activating sensor nodes and, if needed, automatic upload of missing or updated services or (personalized) service settings. Also, light-weight network solutions have been developed that meet the application-specific mobility and topology requirements and allow flexible protocol selection and cross-layer optimization during development and dynamic QoS trade-offs at run time. Also, a POSIX-like OS abstraction layer has been integrated to ease portability across different hardware and software platforms.
To facilitate WSN integration, a generic mediation layer between (remote) enterprise systems and the WASP gateway has been added to provide generic data-base-like functionality such as storing WSN data, assessing quality (trustworthiness), analyzing trends, and generating events (including alerts) for specified conditions. Also, a healthcare-specific mediation layer has been developed to enable OpenEHR- and HL7-compliant interfacing with professional Healthcare Information Systems.

Main integration results

Successful demonstrations of the integrated WASP system have been achieved for a large-scale (79 nodes) livestock deployment tuned for claw health detection and for a medium-scale deployment showcasing various elderly care scenarios through a professional Healthcare Information System. Videos of these test beds are available for viewing on our public website (Testbed of the Herd Control Prototype and Testbed Elderly Care). At present, the WASP integrated system can be viewed as a Research technology prototype which is well suited as a research tool for animal and human behaviour scientists to enable data acquisition for periods of several weeks. This gives an understanding which actual sensors and behavioural trends make most sense to be remotely monitored. This understanding is essential to quantify benefits and costs and, thereby, to motivate any next steps from WASP-like research technology prototypes towards industrial application prototypes and subsequent commercial solutions.
In developing these test beds, a variety of generic hardware and software components on WSN-, gateway-, and enterprise-level has been developed from which enterprise and WSN developers can select those that meet overall application requirements. In addition, a toolbox for application development has been developed that contains, for example, an embedded SW development environment (with tools for building, compiling, and debugging), network simulation models to assess QoS trade-offs, and programming tool chains to develop node- and gateway-level services together with communication libraries to enterprise services. Also, various tools to monitor WSN deployments at run time have been developed to trace the status and performance of individual nodes and the network as a whole. Moreover, these tools can perform stress tests by remotely modifying QoS set points and/or data generation rates. Together with other logging and debug options, these tools proved extremely valuable to identify and isolate integration issues encountered e.g. when scaling up to large-scale deployments and integrating a low-power MAC.
These issues together with other lessons learned and recommendations have been captured in the document “WASP final project summary” that is available for download through the public website. This document also contains an extensive description of WASP achievements and further references well beyond the level of detail of this summary leaflet.

Explorative results

Besides integration, also various explorative activities have been undertaken to advance the WSN field and to assess future candidates for system integration. Examples include novel programmable hardware solutions (ReISC microcontroller and biomedical-optimized prototype ICs), software platform solutions (blackboard, extra-functional framework, code generation tools), integration of the P/S interaction in a (novel) highly cross-optimized routing and MAC stack, and an alternative “all-IP” implementation of the WASP system to assess main development consequences for the current, only partially IP-based implementation.

Dissemination and exploitation

To stimulate further developments of WASP results, a WASP public SVN project together with an accompanying WASP Development Handbook has been made available for use by interested third parties for research purposes. Also, various parts have been disseminated to existing open-source communities of which details are indicated on the dissemination page of our WASP public website. Here, a list of journal and conference publications and of panel and workshop inputs can be found as well as the active links to Small to Medium Enterprises (SME), the Smart Dairy Farm interest group (in the Netherlands), the growing Ambient Assisted Living Community within Europe, and parties within the automotive industry.
Several WASP results have already been picked up for further exploitation, for example, by start-up company “Sensorscope” that offers WSN solutions for environmental monitoring using parts of the GPRS solution developed within WASP. SAP Research transferred part of its WASP results to its Public Security Business Unit for integration into the Real World Integration Platform that will be deployed early 2011 in the Hoffenheim football stadium for e.g. noise monitoring and intrusion detection (watch the SAP deployment of the RWIP platform video). STM internally developed a SoC including the low power ReISC processor core that is being used for business development. Some more exploitation examples by other partners can be found on the web site and in the public WASP summary document.

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