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ZigBee Wireless Investigation and Demonstration, 10-9482

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Principal Investigator
Christopher B. Catterson

Inclusive Dates:  06/14/04 - 10/14/04

Background - The ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 standards offer the potential of being all-in-one wireless solutions for a large number of the Institute's clients. The implementation, if adopted by industry, would be cost effective even for simple point-to-point radio frequency (RF) messaging. Yet, the powerful networking functionality offered by the standard would allow advanced, 'intelligent' interconnectivity among large numbers of devices. The standard is designed specifically for low-power, robust communication in a noisy RF environment. The objective of this project was to demonstrate familiarity with the design issues and technology limitations of the emerging ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 standards.

Approach - To draw attention to the new ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 technology and to demonstrate a technical competence in wireless medical applications, a wireless multisensor network was implemented. The sensor network consisted of a weight scale, blood pressure cuff, and a heat stress monitor, all modified to communicate via an IEEE 802.15.4 radio with a personal computer base station hosting a web-enabled database application and user-interface.

Accomplishments - The project was successfully implemented. The system utilized only the MAC layer interface of the IEEE 802.15.4 radios. This use showed how even without higher level networking, simple star networks can be implemented with a standardized solution. A ZigBee stack was not available at development time. The application was demonstrated at Advanced Technology Applications for Combat Casualty Care (ATACCC), generating interest by military and commercial attendees.

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