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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C54630X/1
Title: ESPACENET: Evolvable Networks of Intell't & Secure Integrated & Dist'd Reconfigurable System-On-Chip Sensor Nodes for A'space Based Monitoring & Diag'
Principal Investigator: McDonald-Maier, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Howells, Professor G
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Epson (UK) Ltd NASA Spiral Gateway Ltd
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL)
Department: Computer Sci and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: University of Essex
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2005 Ends: 30 November 2008 Value (£): 268,856
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Networks & Distributed Systems
System on Chip
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Communications
Related Grants:
EP/C546318/1 EP/C546326/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Technology advances have made it possible to deploy ad-hoc and flexible networks with some small, lightweight, low-cost network elements, called PicoNodes, also referred to sometimes as networks of integrated and distributed sensor platform nodes. These nodes are associated with very restrictive constraints such as: smaller than one cubic centimetre, weigh less than 100 grams, have ultra-low power consumption and low cost. Typically a network with hundreds of these devices will be used in each application. Potential uses of such devices are unlimited; example applications of these networks in terrestrial systems are microclimate control in buildings, environmental monitoring, home automation, distributed monitoring of factory plants or chemical processes, interactive museums, personalization and more.This proposal targets the development of flexible and intelligent embedded networked systems for aerospace applications. Future spacecrafts are envisioned as highly miniaturized, autonomous, and intelligent space micro-systems. There is a pressing need for networked miniaturised pico satellite nodes based on wireless sensors, which could be used in forming constellations as well as for on-board monitoring and diagnostics. Pico satellites offer new space architectures that are based on large (hundreds-to-thousands) numbers of individual spacecrafts. One of the most interesting applications of pico-satellite constellations are virtual satellite missions, which could give rise to a new approach to building large spacecraft that is much more cost-effective and flexible. Pico-satellite constellations could provide continuous Earth coverage for communications or Earth imaging a low cost. They can also provide widely-dispersed monitoring of the space environment, e.g.. magnetic field measurements. Finally, multipl spacecrafts can operate together to simulate large (greater than a kilometer) apertures through coherent beam combining to create highly-directions antenna gain patterns for radio astronomy, high bandwidth communications, or multi-static radar. Pico-satellite constellations can also play a role in interplanetary applications. Global constellations can be placed around the Moon, Mars and other planets or asteroids to provide continuous communications for multiple low-powered surface vehicles, timing signals for a planetary positioning system, or medium-resolution planetar imaging with short revisit times located at various altitudes from earth for tasks such as monitoring environmental conditions around planet earth or other planets.The project aims to carry out a comprehensive, holistic and concurrent research into the design of intelligent sensor network architectures for hil performance systems targeting applications where low power and high data rates are of prime importance. In our investigation we will consid ertargeting these networks for aerospace applications (as above) where various populations of nodes/agents exist in cells of varying density. These cells will consist of complete System on Chip (SoC) devices with various sensing elements together with various DSP/micro-processors, and drip capability in order to deal with the information processed by a given node. In addition the research also targets to study how to design algorithms a low power reconfigurable hardware architectures which can concurrently drive both network and hardware resources in order to solve diagnostic a monitoring problems effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, the project will involve the fabrication of real sensors used in aerospace applicatic and use data from real sensors in order to refine the accuracy and the efficiency of the algorithms used at higher levels.
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Organisation Website: http://www.sx.ac.uk