Wireless Sensor Networks

Components for Deeply Embedded Networks

HatchPoint has been developing hardware and software for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN's) since 2003. Finding commercial "motes" too limiting, we designed several ZigBee-based platforms with customized capabilities:

  • ANT (ANother Tiny) is a minimalist mote that was designed to be as small and light weight as possible while retaining much of the functionality of larger motes.
  • BIT (BIoTelemetry) mote was printed on a flexible substrate and was designed to be integrated into clothing. It included specialized amplifiers and digitizers for measuring biopotentials.
  • APE (Analog Processing and Evaluation) mote was designed specifically for collecting high bandwidth (for a mote) acoustic signals and analyzing the data in real time using hardware-based signal processing.


Web Based Software for Managing Petroleum Sales and Oil Field Services

The logistics of selling and transporting petroleum products is a nightmare. The number of players involved in each transaction, strict State and Federal reporting, and complex taxation combined with the volatility of energy markets requires a software solution that is designed for flexibility.

FuelHauler coordinates the interaction between retailers, resellers, transporters, and refiners by offering a common transaction interface. Each player can see the history associated with an order and pass data on to whomever needs it. The result is fewer costly mistakes.

FuelHauler is a commercial product. It currently supports a user base of over thirty companies in the refined petroleum industry. We are now expanding the software to support oil field services as well.

Acoustic Sensors

Ruggedized and Low Cost Infrasound Array Element

A client approached us with a need for a ruggedized acoustic sensor that was able to operate in the ultra-low (infrasound) frequency range. Arrays of these sensors could be used to detect and localize events such as missile or mortar launches or track low-flying aircraft such as helicopters.

A successful sensor design resulted in a specification for an integrated "Smart" sensor that combined signal conditioning and communication between array elements. HatchPoint developed all hardware, firmware, and packaging for the new sensor and supported the successful testing and evaluation of the prototype.


Distributed Data Acquisition for Remote Sensor Arrays

Our experience in building instruments for remote use in harsh outdoor environments demonstrated a need for a stand-alone solution for supporting data collection in the field. Power conditioning and communication were critical components that were included in the core design. Communication utilized WiFi, cellular, or satellite networks. We included GPS-based localization and time-stamping support so that data between D-DAQs could be correlated.

Data acquisition on such a large scale requires software that is more sophisticated than the traditional LabVIEW styled window. Each D-DAQ was controlled using a client/server scripting language or through a Web interface. A centralized storage service could collect and analyze remote data.


Monitoring for the Smart Home

HatchPoint created an entirely new concept in Smart Home technology that is based upon smart sensing and mesh networks. By utilizing customer hardware and the open source TinyOS and Linux operating systems, self-contained wireless sensor nodes are installed, forming a network that continuously monitors the home for signs of trouble such as fire, water leaks, gas leaks, high energy consumption, and intrusion.

The use of wireless sensor networks to detect the activity of pests such as termites is one novel aspect of TripWire. This work was supported with a Phase I Small Business Innovation Award (SBIR) from the USDA. After the development of a successful prototype, HatchPoint received follow-up funding from a Phase II award a year later.


Cardiac Monitoring as a Service

LifeLink was a concept for providing affordable cardiac monitoring. Daily heart monitoring is available, but it is very expensive ($150 per day!). LifeLink focused on the development of a low-cost ECG monitoring service that used smart phones to collect and analyze telemetry. With a tiered pricing plan, both at risk and healthy individuals could now track their cardiac health.

Innovative sensors were required to make LifeLink a reality. HatchPoint developed non-contact biopotential probes that could be integrated into and removed from clothing. These probes worked well in acquiring the ECG, but they were susceptible to motion artifacts. We are still working to find a solution to this problem.