Doctoral Thesis: WATTSWORTH: No Watt Left Behind


Event Speaker: 

John Donnal

Event Location: 


Event Date/Time: 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - 10:30am


The combination of powerful embedded computers, advanced sensor technology, and high speed wireless networks could revolutionize how we interact with our physical environment. Sensor networks that provide real time feedback offer significant value in terms of energy reduction, fault detection, equipment diagnostics, monitoring, security and more.  This revolution will not happen in a positive way without a clear vision of how sense, network, and control technologies can be applied to enhance human abilities and improve our lives. 

Such systems have been frustratingly difficult to implement. An old dilemma is becoming increasingly apparent. Networking provides remote access to information and control inputs.  Gathering useful information, however, may require the installation of an expensive and intrusive array of sensors.  Without this array, networked control provides colorful but minimally useful real information. Technological marvels like solid-state or micro-electromechanical sensors may ultimately reduce the cost of individual sensors through mass-production.  They may not, however, reduce installation expense.  They also do nothing to recover waste of resources. Even with the array, it may be difficult for a facilities operator to make informed control and maintenance decisions that intelligently affect mission critical components.  Large datasets remain difficult to use.
This talk presents a design approach for creating cyber physical infrastructure that addresses these challenges to delivering actionable real time feedback. At the core of the system is a suite of non-intrusive sensors that dramatically reduce the cost of data acquisition.  These sensors process and store data locally, without any dependency on external servers. This removes the security and privacy concerns that plague conventional sensor networks. Demonstrations will include a non-intrusive power meter that can measure multi-phase current and voltage without any contact to the power line, and a Wattsworth installation which reduces the fuel consumption of a US Army Forward Operating Base (FOB) by over 10 percent. 
Thesis Supervisor: Steven Leeb