13 September 2007

Formation of a Geometric Pattern with a Mobile Wireless Sensor Network

Justin Lee and Svetha Venkatesh
Department of Computer Science
Curtin University of Technology

Mohan Kumar
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas 76039

Journal of Robotic Systems
Volume 21, Number 10
October 2004

DOI: 10.1002/rob.20033
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rob.20033


Mobile wireless sensor networks (MWSNs) will enable information systems to gather detailed information about the environment on an unprecedented scale. These self-organizing, distributed networks of sensors, processors, and actuators that are capable of movement have a broad range of potential applications, including military reconnaissance, surveillance, planetary exploration, and geophysical mapping. In many of the foreseen applications, the MWSN will need to form a geometric pattern without assistance from the user. In military reconnaissance, for example, the nodes will be dropped onto the battlefield from a plane and land at random positions. The nodes will be expected to arrange themselves into a predetermined formation in order to perform a specific task. Thus, we present algorithms for forming a line, circle, and regular polygon from a given set of random positions. The algorithms are distributed and use no communication between the nodes to minimize energy consumption. Unlike past studies of geometric problems where algorithms are either tested in simulations where each node has global knowledge of all the other nodes or implemented on a small number of robots, the robustness of our algorithms has been studied with simulations that model the sensor system in detail. The simulations demonstrate that the algorithms are robust against random errors in the sensors and actuators. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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