Active Sensor Networks with Applications in Marine Microorganism Monitoring
Project Summary

The proposed research combines networking, distributed robotics, nanorobotics, and microbiology in an effort to develop and apply technology for the in-situ, real-time monitoring of microbial populations in aquatic environments, such as the ocean or water supply systems. The application context provides feedback from experiments with realistic systems, and this feedback is essential to the progress of the Information Technology (IT) research proposed here. This project addresses two key challenges for IT during this decade: moving from virtual to physical applications, and moving from macro to micro and nano.

The IT focus is on the study of Physically-Coupled Scalable Information Infrastructures (PCSIIs), which effectively "embed the internet". The sensors and actuators in the proposed PCSII must have small physical dimensions, comparable to those of the microorganisms to be monitored. They must be deployed in very large numbers to achieve the unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution necessary to investigate the causal relationships between environmental conditions and microorganisms. Control and coordination of a multitude of such devices of limited and heterogeneous capabilities raise major challenges for networking, distributed coordination and distributed algorithms. Sensing for detection and identification of microorganisms is another challenge, which will be tackled by using nanorobotic Scanning Probe Microscope technology.

Support and Affiliations
Supported by NSF grant EIA-0121141 under the ITR

Computer Science Department, USC
Laboratory for Embedded Collaborative Systems (LECS), UCLA
Department of Biological Sciences, USC
Team Members

David A. Caron
Deborah Estrin
Maja J. Mataric
Aristides A.G. Requicha
Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Graduate Students
Vladimir Bychkovskiy
Bin Zhang
Mohammed Rahimi

Carl Oberg
Beth Stauffer

Research Area Research Lab