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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 568240, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/568240
Research Article

A Wireless Sensor Network System with a Jumping Node for Unfriendly Environments

School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China

Received 24 December 2011; Accepted 16 May 2012

Academic Editor: Jiming Chen

Copyright © 2012 Jun Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Mobile robots have been adopted to repair failed wireless sensor network systems for node damage, battery exhaustion, or obstacles. But most of the robots use wheeled locomotion manner, which does not work well or even fails when confronted with obstacles in uneven terrains. To solve this problem, this paper presents the design of a jumping robot to serve as a robotic node for wireless sensor networks. The robot can jump up to or over obstacles to repair the broken network connections. The robot senses its posture angle by using an acceleration sensor and self-rights automatically by using a pole leg after falling down on the ground. The robot also can steer and adjust its take-off angle by the pole leg. A network monitoring system with the proposed robot is built to test its basic locomotion capabilities and the network repair function. Experimental results show that the robot can jump about 90 cm in height and traverse 50 cm far at a take-off angle of 75 degrees. The robot can repair the network by jumping up to a 10 cm high platform. The proposed system with a jumping node can provide powerful support for applications in unfriendly environments.