Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. today announced it will start an experiment for free mobility assistance service, by establishing a ubiquitous sensor network(1) using solar batteries and ZigBee(TM)(2), the next generation low rate wireless communication technology. This experiment is conducted as part of the pre-demo experiment of the Free Mobility Assistance Project(3), hosted by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, that will take place in Kobe, Japan. Starting today, the experiment will continue for five days until January 28, 2005.
"In order for wireless systems like ZigBee to become practical-use, it is essential to repeat demo-experiments in various situations as they change its features depending on the surrounding environment," said Harushige Sugimoto, Chief Technology Officer at Oki Electric. "Based on the experiment results, Oki will identify ZigBee characteristics and will work on establishing a ZigBee based ubiquitous sensor network that enables free mobility assistance services."
ZigBee is a technology expected to popularize free mobility assistance service as fixed nodes can be operated on solar power and can be set anywhere without wires. Oki developed a ZigBee wireless node(4) for the demo, which is used in this experiment as fixed nodes and mobile nodes to identify characteristics of ZigBee radio transmission, to validate power consumption using solar power and to estimate mobile node locations. Oki will also experiment the mobile node by connecting to Ubiquitous Communicator that is being developed at YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory and laptop PCs.
Oki expects to obtain a wide array of information as the experiment will take place in diverse environments including outdoor intersections, closed underground malls, places with many people moving around, and environments with car traffic, etc. Data will be measured with mobile nodes at intersections and pathways by setting fixed nodes for beacons and solar batteries on five of the streetlights. Location will be estimated by setting an aided fixed node on pathways to increase the performance of location estimation. Setting 15 fixed nodes on the ceiling will measure data for the underground mall.
# (1) Ubiquitous sensor network
This is a network that enables users to receive necessary information anytime, from anywhere by installing small wireless sensors that detect surrounding environment such as temperature, humidity and vibration in buildings, roads, mountains, rivers, etc.
# (2) ZigBee(TM)
The next generation low rate wireless communication technology for home appliances. Completed its standard in December 2004, ZigBee has lower speed but better range and advantages of lower cost and lower power consumption than Bluetooth. ZigBee can establish a wireless controllable network that controls appliances from lights to home security systems.
# (3) Free Mobility Assistance Project
A project hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for a Universal Society, established by mutual support and bringing in all individual's ability together, to enable information on transportation and directions accessible to anyone, anytime from anywhere.
# (4) ZigBee wireless node
This is a small low power consumption wireless terminal developed by Oki Electric to evaluate sensor networks. Because it does not need a radio wave dark room, wireless terminal experiments can be done anywhere. Oki provides this to development partners who are interested in solving the issues regarding demo results.