Amritavarsham 60 Announces Wireless System for Warning of Disasters

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( — September 24, 2013) Kollam Dt., Kerala  

Amrita University to set up the unique initiative supported by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences

 As Assam reels under landslides and floods this monsoon, a world-class research centre from down-country India has come up with plans to set up state-of-the-art technology in the disaster-prone Northeastern state.

The prestigious Amrita University based near Kollam will soon set up an advanced integrated real-time wireless-sensor network system for continuous monitoring and real-time detection of disasters in the Northeastern regions. The move from the varsity’s Center for Wireless Networks and Applications (AmritaWNA) comes at a time when the Mata Amritanandamayi Math is organising from tomorrow the 60th birthday of Amma — as the spiritual leader is known globally.

A first-of-its-kind system for anywhere in the world, it has got the green signal from the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, reveals Dr. Maneesha Sudheer, Director of AmritaWNA.

For the researchers at the varsity’s Center, the Assam project comes soon after the roaring success of its inaugural venture in 2009 at the landslides-ravaged Munnar in Kerala’s hilly Idukki district funded by the European Commission under the FP6 programme.

“Our Center is equipped with the nation’s first-ever life-size landslide laboratory set-ups. Our technology is cutting-edge,” reveals Dr. Maneesha. The laboratory set-ups are equipped with an indigenously designed and developed seepage simulator and a rainfall simulator to generate the required water infiltration.

“We have created large and medium laboratory set-ups for cooperative use with the wireless-sensor network deployment that aims to detect landslides,” the expert says. “They can also come in handy for modeling and simulating the landslide phenomena.”

The advanced integrated real-time wireless-sensor network system to be installed in the Northeastern region is a first anywhere in the country, says Dr. Maneesha. “We will be installing more than 100 sensors in the landslide prone areas. The project is to take off next month; the process of setting up the initial facility will completed by October 2014.”

Recalling that 150 geophysical sensors connected to 20 wireless-sensor nodes were deployed in Munnar, Dr. Maneesha says the system did successfully issue a second-level warning of a possible landslide during the torrential rains that lashed across the State in 2009.

Amma, who is the Chancellor of Amrita University, was the sole motivator for this highly interdisciplinary research, says Dr. Maneesha.

Dr. Venkat Rangan, the Vice Chancellor of Amrita University, says Amma has guided the team at every step of the research and also provided the required funding and extra manpower for this research project. “Even though the project did not demand a real test-bed for landslide detection, Amma instructed us to identify a landslide-prone area and perform a real-deployment, that can save human life,” he says.

This research work was earlier supported by European Commission and Department of Information Technology and is currently supported by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

AmritaWNA, which is a winner of the Union Government’s NABARD Innovation Award in Technology for Rural India in October 2012, also holds the credit of having developed real-time monitoring systems for other disasters.

Dr. Maneesha says the system can prevent loss of life and property, as it can continuously monitors natural disasters. “We are also developing wireless-sensor-integrated robots for rescue operation and for assisting people in disaster-hit areas. AmritaWNA is doing research on systems that can be used to establish emergency communication systems using collaborative flying robots,” she adds.

Besides research on wireless networks and applications, researchers at the Center have been working on a variety of innovative application areas like wearable wireless sensors, heterogeneous wireless networks, wireless multimedia, wireless robotics, context-aware computing, participatory sensing, smart grid, and microgrid.

AmritaWNA also offers M. Tech and PhD programmes in the areas of wireless networks and applications. Some of the agencies funding its research programmes include DST, MHRD, DeitY, and INFSO DG of the European Commission.


Mata Amrithanandamayi Math

Amritapuri P.O.
Kollam Dt.,Kerala 690 525

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