Vinod Kulathumani, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at West Virginia University, is part of a research team that has been selected as a finalist for the R&D 100 Award. The award, known as the “Oscars of Innovation,” honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the past year as determined by a panel selected by “R&D Magazine.”
Working in partnership with researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Kulathumani developed an ultra large scale sensor network for detection of storm water overflow in real-time. While he notes that the network is critical due to the chemical nature of storm water runoff he added that it has applications beyond that.
“Flat networks have no high power gateways or cellular links in the middle, which are simply infeasible to deploy in rugged terrains,” Kulathumani said. “The deployed system, which has been operational for about a year, covers about 40 square miles of rugged mountainous terrain with a 300-plus feet vertical change using more than 120 sensors, making it one of the largest flat multi-hop networks in terms of coverage area deployed to date.”
The system, Kulathumani said, has several other applications arising from requirements of remote monitoring in large inaccessible areas such as deserts, forests and arctic regions.
“The system configures itself when nodes are added, deleted or moved,” Kulathumani explained. “It is also robust to transmission-related losses arising from harsh terrain. Unlike satellite- and cellular-based systems, this solution does not require a third party infrastructure and data access fees. Instead, the network software and data is owned by the customer.”
The R&D 100 Awards span industry, academia and government-sponsored research organizations. The winners will be announced at the 2018 R&D 100 Conference, scheduled for November 15-16, in Orlando, Florida. WVU has won three R&D 100 Awards since 2011.