Research

Sensorweb is also called Internet of Things or Cyber-physical Systems. If Internet is viewed as the circulatory system connecting the world, then Sensorweb can be said as the nervous system sensing the world: extracting timely information for efficient decision support and quick corrective actions. MIT Technology Review listed it as one of the top ten emerging technologies in 21st century that will change the world.

We are currently developing Sensorweb systems for energy, environment, agriculture and health applications, where sensing, computing, communication and control play a critical role and need a transformative study. Those technologies will directly contribute to the sustainability of our society by improving energy efficiency, environment sustainability, food security and health and wellbeing

researchfocus

Active Research Projects:

  • Smart Cyber-Physical Systems for Controlled-Environment Agriculture   Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) is a technology-based approach toward food production. The aim of CEA is to provide protection and maintain optimal growing conditions throughout the development of the crop. Production takes place within an enclosed growing structure such as a greenhouse or building. Plants are often grown using hydroponic methods in order to supply the proper amounts of water and nutrients to the root zone. Because of this, CEA does not depend on arable land and food can be produced in or near major population centers. CEA optimizes the use of resources such as water, energy, space, capital and labor. CEA technologies include hydroponics, aquaculture, and aquaponics.
  • Real-time Ambient Noise Seismic Imaging for Subsurface Sustainability  (NSF $1.2M 2015-2019)
    This project creates a real-time Ambient Noise Seismic Imaging system, to study and monitor the subsurface sustainability and potential hazards of geological structures. The techniques developed find further utility in monitoring and understanding the dynamics of subsurface oil, mine and geothermal resources, alongside concomitant hazards in oil exploration, mining, hydrothermal eruption, and volcanic eruption).
  • Swarm Robotics for Exploration and Security
    The micromouse competition has become more popular and competitive recent years. The main object is to finding the shortest time traveling to the center of the maze. Generally, exploration of the maze structure will become a main step before a successful run. Inspired by that, we started the micromouse project for discovering the maze. Furthermore, since in most real life applications, there will be multiple robots fulfilling the same task, coordination in the task is also incorporated.
  • Integrated Learning Environment for Cyber Security of Smart Grid (NSF $500K 2013-2017)
    Cyber-security of smart grid has raised significant interest amongst both general public and researchers. However, the corresponding education programs fall behind in many aspects. Very limited curriculum or hands-on learning resources are available for security education in smart grid, especially for the mutual impacts between cyber and physical systems.
  • VolcanoSRI: 4D Volcano Tomography in a Large-Scale Sensor Network  (NSF $1.8M 2011-2016)
    We will create a new paradigm, VolcanoSRI (Volcano Seismic Realtime Imaging), for imaging 4D (four-dimensional) tomography of an active volcano in real-time. VolcanoSRI is a large-scale sensor network of low-cost geophysical stations that analyzes seismic signals and computes real-time, full-scale, three-dimensional fluid dynamics of the volcano conduit system within the active network.
  • Information and Computation Hierarchy for Smart Grids (NSF $1.8M 2011-2016)
    This research investigates key aspects of a computation and information foundation for future cyber-physical energy systems – the smart grids. The overall project objective is to support high penetrations of renewable energy sources, community based micro-grids, and the widespread use of electric cars and smart appliances.

Completed Research Projects:

  • Activity-Aware Sensor Network for Smart Environments (NSF $300K 2009-2012)
    Smart environment with pervasive sensors has a goal of automating control of home appliances in order to achieve comfort, security, energy efficiency, and recently for health monitoring of older adults or people with cognitive and physical impairments.
  • Collaborative Communication and Storage for Sensor Networks in Challenging Environments (NSF CAREER $425K 2010-2015)
    In a challenged sensor network, a predictable and stable path may never exist, the network connectivity is intermittent, and a node could suddenly appear or disappear. The rare upload opportunity and unpredictable node disruptions often result in data loss. The unpredictable network disruptions make the traditional communication protocols inefficient and require a new design paradigm.
  • Batteryless Sensor Network Design
    The promise of wireless sensor networks can only be fully realized when the wiring for both data communications and power supply is eliminated. Fortunately, energy harvesting from environment becomes more and more practical.
  • A versatile WSN platform for structural health monitoring (Hong Kong HK$990K 2009-2011)
    Structures like buildings, bridges, dams, roads, nuclear power furnace, etc. are critical components of the economic and industrial infrastructure. However, these structures are aging with years and are also subjected to harsh loading scenarios and severe environmental conditions.
  • Optimized Autonomous Space In-Situ Sensorweb (NASA $1.6M and USGS $500K 2006-2009)
    Earth scientists seek to understand the complex, time-varying dynamics of volcanic activity, both for deeper scientific understanding of the physical processes, as well as to enable rapid detection of volcanic hazards to human safety.