The ADWaNS IoT project focuses on developing a multi-purpose wireless sensor networking instrument that supports the specific experimental research needs of key IoT applications such as body networks for patients monitoring, and physical infrastructure monitoring (e.g., tunnels, and bridges). The instrument enables (1) research and education for developing and experimenting with protocols and algorithms for emerging IoT devices, (2) cross-cutting research and education in application areas of key interest to Northeastern University (security, health, and sustainability) and our society in general.



Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) technology is at the heart of the IoT revolution. It holds the promise to enable a wide array of revolutionary applications. Some applications of national importance, in the context of emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, include the increasing need to monitor physical infrastructure (already in 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that in order to bring the nation’s infrastructure to a good condition, $3.6 trillions are needed over the next 5 years), and search and rescue missions in the aftermath of a catastrophic event (locating survivors when communication infrastructure is damaged constitutes a major effort for rescue teams and can significantly be improved with adequate technology). Another set of applications of national interest lie within technology-assisted health therapy. In the United States, stroke is the leading cause of disability among adults. Unfortunately, over 50% of survivors show a poor functional recovery of the arm and hand and can greatly benefit from access to affordable and convenient rehabilitation care.

The modules can be combined to assemble nodes and then networks for areas of active research of the PIs and collaborators:

  • Cross-layer protocols for heterogeneous wireless networks:

    the extensibility of the base module and composibility of the modules will allow us to configure various network topologies with multi-radios capable of power control and multi-rate communications (ZigBee, WiFi, Cellular), variable storage capabilities, directional antennas, mobility, and ultra-sound ranging. This reconfigurable instrument will enable us to confront theoretical and simulation results with real world performance evaluation.

  • Localization for search and rescue missions:

    the swarm of robots will be assembled from a set rugged All Terrain Robots (ATR), base module with ultrasound transceiver, steerable antenna, some nodes will have a WiFi gateway. This instrument configuration will enable us to carry larger scale experimental research on search and rescue protocols design.

  • Structural health monitoring of buildings:

    the buildings’ monitoring instrument will be assembled from three types of nodes.

  1. Sensing & relay nodes will consist of the base module, and an accelerometer module,
  2. the backbone nodes will consist of a base module, an accelerometer module, and a WiFi gateway,
  3. the Internet gateway node will consist of a base module, an accelerometer module, a WiFi gateway, and a cellular or Ethernet gateway. We will also make custom made enclosures for protecting and adequately securing the nodes to the location to be sensed. Depending on the location of the nodes, high-capacity batteries (9Ah, 3.6V, C size) or adequate power supplies will be used.
  • Hand and patient motion-tracking:

    this configuration of the instrument will consist of a network of base modules extended with a sensor glove, body tracking, and anchor modules.