Mobile Sensing Networks: from Robots to Phones

Sameera Poduri, University of Southern California

Mobile networks of robots, vehicles and phones will form the next-generation large-scale, distributed, and reconfigurable sensing infrastructure. Effective coordination to maximize sensing coverage is the common, and key, concern. The differences lie in their capabilities and the degree of control possible. In this talk, I will describe our approaches and tools that harness mobility in a range of sensing networks. First, I will consider robots that allow precise control, and show local, geometric conditions on robot positions that guarantee global network connectivity. When combined with distributed controllers for mobile robots, these conditions can maximize sensing coverage while maintaining connectivity. The key idea is the introduction of a new construct - a Neighbor-Every-Theta (NET) graph - in which each node has at least one neighbor in every theta angular sector of its communication range. We prove that for theta < pi, NET graphs are guaranteed to have an edge-connectivity of at least floor(2pi/theta), even with an irregular communication range. The NET conditions are integrated into a virtual potential field-based controller for distributed deployment. In the second part of the talk, I will consider mobile phones that allow little or no position control, and describe ongoing work on participatory sensing of air visibility.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Sameera Poduri is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Southern California (USC) where she conducts research on mobile sensing and teaches a course on intelligent embedded systems. She received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from USC in 2008, M.Tech in Computer Aided Design and Automation and B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India, in 2002. Her research work focuses on areas of distributed control and coordination algorithms for robot networks and large-scale participatory sensing.