The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Application-Driven Data Processing in Wireless Sensor Networks

Maurizio Bocca

Doctoral dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the School of Electrical Engineering for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering (Espoo, Finland) on the 4th of November 2011 at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-60-4310-4)   [3322 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-60-4309-8)


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are composed of spatially distributed, low-cost, low-power, resource-constrained devices using sensors and actuators to cooperatively monitor and operate into the environment. These systems are being used in a wide range of applications. The design and implementation of an effective WSN requires dealing with several challenges involving multiple disciplines, such as wireless communications and networking, software engineering, embedded systems and signal processing. Besides, the technical solutions found to these issues are closely interconnected and determine the capability of the system to successfully fulfill the requirements posed by each application domain.

The large and heterogeneous amount of data collected in a WSN need to be efficiently processed in order to improve the end-user comprehension and control of the observed phenomena. The thesis focuses on a) the development of centralized and distributed data processing methods optimized for the requirements and characteristics of the considered application domains, and b) the design and implementation of suitable system architectures and protocols with respect to critical application-specific parameters.

The thesis comprehends a summary and nine publications, equally divided over three different application domains, i.e. wireless automation, structural health monitoring (SHM) and indoor situation awareness (InSitA). In the first one, a wireless joystick control system for human adaptive mechatronics is developed. Also, the effect of packet losses on the performance of a wireless control system is analyzed and validated with an unstable process. A remotely reconfigurable, time synchronized wireless system for SHM enables a precise estimation of the modal properties of the monitored structure. Furthermore, structural damages are detected and localized through a distributed data processing method based on the Goertzel algorithm. In the context of InSitA, the short-time, low quality acoustic signals collected by the nodes composing the network are processed in order to estimate the number of people located in the monitored indoor environment. In a second phase, text- and language-independent speaker identification is performed. Finally, device-free localization and tracking of the movements of people inside the monitored indoor environment is achieved by means of distributed processing of the radio signal strength indicator (RSSI) signals.

The results presented in the thesis demonstrate the adaptability of WSNs to different application domains and the importance of an optimal co-design of the system architecture and data processing methods.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 9 publications:

  1. Kalevi Tervo, Maurizio Bocca, Lasse M. Eriksson, and Aino Manninen. 2009. Wireless joystick control for human adaptive mechatronics applications: Case trolley crane. In: Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Networking, Sensing and Control (ICNSC 2009). Okayama, Japan. 26-29 March 2009. IEEE. Pages 19-24. ISBN 978-1-4244-3492-3.
  2. Kalevi Tervo, Maurizio Bocca, Lasse M. Eriksson, and Aino Manninen. 2010. Wireless manual control for human adaptive mechatronics. International Journal of Advanced Mechatronic Systems, volume 2, number 4, pages 254-270.
  3. Ossi Kaltiokallio, Lasse M. Eriksson, and Maurizio Bocca. 2010. On the performance of the PIDPLUS controller in wireless control systems. In: Proceedings of the 18th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation (MED 2010). Marrakech, Morocco. 23-25 June 2010. IEEE. Pages 707-714. ISBN 978-1-4244-8091-3.
  4. M. Bocca, E. I. Cosar, J. Salminen, and L. M. Eriksson. 2009. A reconfigurable wireless sensor network for structural health monitoring. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure (SHMII 2009). Zurich, Switzerland. 22-24 July 2009. 8 pages.
  5. Maurizio Bocca, Lasse M. Eriksson, Aamir Mahmood, Riku Jäntti, and Jyrki Kullaa. 2011. A synchronized wireless sensor network for experimental modal analysis in structural health monitoring. Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, volume 26, number 7, pages 483-499.
  6. Maurizio Bocca, Janne Toivola, Lasse M. Eriksson, Jaakko Hollmén, and Heikki Koivo. 2011. Structural health monitoring in wireless sensor networks by the embedded Goertzel algorithm. In: Proceedings of the Second IEEE/ACM International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS 2011). Chicago, Illinois, USA. 12-14 April 2011. Los Alamitos, California, USA. IEEE Computer Society. Pages 206-214. ISBN 978-0-7695-4361-1.
  7. Maurizio Bocca, Cristian Galperti, Reino Virrankoski, and Heikki N. Koivo. 2006. Estimating the number of persons in an unknown indoor environment by applying wireless acoustic sensors and blind signal separation. In: Omar Haddad (editor). Proceedings of the First Mobile Computing and Wireless Communications International Conference (MCWC 2006). Amman, Jordan. 17-20 September 2006. Mosharaka for Researches and Studies. Pages 123-128. ISBN 978-9957-486-00-6.
  8. Maurizio Bocca and Heikki N. Koivo. 2008. Real-time text and language independent speaker identification with a reconfigurable wireless network of acoustic sensors. In: Proceedings of the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST 2008). Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. 12-13 May 2008. IEEE. Pages 432-437. ISBN 978-1-4244-1977-7.
  9. Ossi Kaltiokallio and Maurizio Bocca. 2011. Real-time intrusion detection and tracking in indoor environment through distributed RSSI processing. In: Proceedings of the 17th IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications (RTCSA 2011). Toyama, Japan. 28-31 August 2011. Los Alamitos, California, USA. IEEE Computer Society. Volume 1, pages 61-70. ISBN 978-0-7695-4502-8.

Keywords: wireless sensor networks, wireless automation, structural health monitoring, indoor situation awareness, data processing

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Last update 2011-10-24