1. What is this all about?
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are a result of significant breakthroughs on wireless transceiver technology, the need of event sensing and monitoring. One might think of a WSN as the skin of our bodies; apart from its importance on many other subjects, our skin senses events nearby it, like touch, temperature changes, pressure and so forth. These events are generated by an external entity, the nerves or sensors of our skin are capable to react to such events and transmit this information to the brain.
Of course there are a lot of differences between our body and WSNs, but the principle still holds: instead of our nerves, sensors gather data from their surroundings and using radio links this data is transmitted to a central node, often called Sink, in order to get processed, visualized or stored.
The majority of wireless nodes in a WSN are very constrained devices due to the restinctions in costs and sometimes harsh environments where these network are deployed. These constraints go from cost, processing power, memory, storage, radio range, spectrum and, more importantly, battery life.
If you are interested on what kind of applications can be built with WSNs, read the short Introduction section on the complementary course guide.
Activity Make a drawing of an application for wireless sensor networks and post it in the comments section. If you are an expert, you can go in detail. If you are just starting, use your imagination and draw your dreams without bothering with implementation details.