Geek Speak: Bozena Kaminska, Canada Research Chair in wireless sensor networks at SFU

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      Bozena Kaminska is developing next-generation wireless sensor technology that can be used to track people or monitor their hearts. These sensors communicate with each other through a solar-powered wireless mesh network.

      Born in Poland, Kaminska is a 57-year-old professor in the school of engineering science at Simon Fraser University, where she founded the Centre for Integrative Bio-Engineering Research. She’s also the Canada Research Chair in wireless sensor networks, as well as the founder and president of Adigy Canada, a Vancouver-based company that has installed wireless sensor networks in the Okanagan and Ottawa.

      The Georgia Straight reached Kaminska by phone in Vancouver.

      How do you describe the technology you are developing?

      We developed multilayer flexible sensors. It is one area of innovation. We have patent applications on this. Another area, it is mesh network—wireless mesh network. So, it is integration all into network to then communicate to Internet. This is another piece of technology which nobody at this moment is offering.

      How has this technology advanced in the past few years?

      In the past few years, we have developed all sensors from scratch. We’ve tested this. We have two successful installations now working for a couple of months. We’re setting up now manufacturing.

      What do these sensors look like?

      These are like Band-Aids. So, you can think like as small, as thin as Band-Aids—like three centimetres long and one centimetre wide, two millimetres high. So, it’s like Band-Aid.

      What’s one application of this technology that might be useful for an average person?

      For an average person, it’s, for example, for fitness; for if some has any problems with their heart, so it can be monitoring any heart accident; but also for sport, for training, for fitness, for security purposes, for energy saving. For example, one application is when someone is wearing sensor and approaching the house, the working area, the light and conditioning is switching on. When somebody is leaving, it’s switching off. So, this is another application.

      How can these sensors be used to track people?

      We are placing sensors actually on the arm. So, even if someone is falling, then still transmission is happening. Because our sensors are connected to the Internet, immediate messages are sent through the Internet that someone is in danger. So, it is for personal security. Now area security, our network is actually detecting intrusions. So, if the area is having our sensors and someone is entering the area, this is monitored also in real time.

      How do the sensors connect to the Internet?

      It is through our mesh network. So, we are placing very small sensors. We are distributing them. They form what is called a wireless mesh network, and this network connects to the Internet.

      When will these sensors be commercially available?

      Well, at this moment, we already have two installations. One is in the Okanagan. We are at this moment shaping manufacturing as we talk. So, we are testing a manufacturable version of those sensors now. As I said, I’m signing joint ventures for marketing and distribution.

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      S.Swapna Kumar

      Mar 27, 2010 at 1:01am

      Good morning Madam
      I am from India doing research so kindly let me know whether you will find time to give guidance as on when approached.
      S.Swapna kumar