Wireless Sensor Technology Predicts Fires in Forests

Voltree Power said it has completed a successful trial demonstration of its innovative climate sensor network, one that can be powered by energy harvested from living trees, according to a June 25 press release.

The three-day test and system installation demonstrated the successful integration with the existing “Remote Automated Weather Stations” network, transmitting air temperature, humidity, and diagnostic data.

Using low-power radio transceivers, sensors, and its patented bioenergy-harvesting technology, Voltree has provided a new means for fire prediction and detection. Developed under the oversight and guidance of the U.S. Forest Service as well as the Bureau of Land Management, the system employs sensors for air temperature, relative humidity, and voltage and can generate alerts in the event of a fire. In such cases, the wireless mesh network transmits data signals from one unit to another until they reach a Vaisala-built central monitoring station. These stations subsequently provide a satellite microwave uplink connection that allows the collected information to be shared with numerous government agencies and many other users worldwide.

“The Voltree solution for remote forest monitoring provides a reliable and cost-effective method of collecting microclimate, ‘under-the-forest-canopy’ weather data that will serve as a valuable tool for weather and climate modeling as well as climate change research. This predictive approach will enable strategic resource allocation and prioritization. Hence by better pre-positioning resources the government land agencies can maximize public and firefighter safety as well as reduce losses and lower costs,” said Stella Karavas, chief executive officer of Voltree Power.

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