Toward Hazard Aware Spaces: Knowing Where, When and What Hazards Occur.

Peter Bajcsy, Rob Kooper, David Scherba, Martin Urban

Technical report NCSA-ISDA06-003 May 25, 2006

While considering all existing hazards for humans due to (a) natural disastrous events, (b) failures of human hazard attention or (c) intentional harmful behaviors of humans, we address the problem of building hazard aware spaces (HAS) to alert innocent people. We have researched and developed components of a prototype HAS system for detecting fire using wireless "smart" micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) sensor networks, such as the MICA sensors manufactured by Crossbow Inc., and spectral cameras, for instance, thermal infrared (IR), visible spectrum and multi-spectral cameras. Within this context, the paper overviews technical challenges and prototyped scientific solutions to (1) robotic sensor deployment using remote control, (2) synchronization of sensors and cameras, (3) localization of sensors and objects, (4) calibration of measurements from sensors and spectral cameras, (5) proactive camera control, (6) hazard detection, (7) human alert, (8) hazard confirmation and understanding, and (9) hazard containment.

The work presents innovative signal processing applications of sensor network technology, and includes also theoretical and practical limitations that have to be understood while working with novel technologies.