A team of researchers from Google and the University of Washington have developed a prototype robot-based environmental-measuring system comprising commercially available components. The components include passive ultra-high-frequency radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensor tags, robots, and ground control software running on a laptop to plan the robots' missions, send them commands, and receive and display the data they collected.
"This was ideally matched to mobile robots carrying RFID readers; the robot could help deploy and read the sensor tags in remote, hard-to-reach locations," says Google's Travis Deyle.
The researchers tested ground-based as well as flying robots equipped with RFID sensors. They found the system could be used to automatically measure a soil's moisture level. The researchers also think the system could be used to monitor water quality and crops. The robots could be used to measure the stress, strain, corrosion, and wear levels on infrastructure, according to the scientists.
They note there are still limitations regarding tag read range, battery life, and robot control, all of which could pose challenges for larger deployments.
From RFID Journal
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