WISPER is a wireless mesh networking IC platform for low-power, low-cost sensing and tracking.
It was developed for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the UVA Dept. of Compute Science, in the wake of the September 11th attacks as a portable network that could track movements of emergency responders. In adverse environments, like large build fires or wildfires, communications between emergency responders is mission critical. WISPER is worn on the belt of the emergency personnel and its nodes drop one at a time to build the wireless network. As the emergency personnel move further into a disaster environment - and further away from their mobile HQ - WISPER leaves these digital “bread crumbs” that can track locations and relay data back to command.
By using a wireless mesh network, low-power wireless transceivers can be used because messages do not need to be sent directly to a site HQ or commander, but rather can be passed from node to node in the network. When the mesh network senses that the signal from one emergency responder is becoming weak, another node automatically drops from the belt-mounted dispenser. This re-strengthens the network and 'heal's it back to full connectivity.
The mesh network that WISPER creates will automatically reconfigure if the nodes are moved or destroyed. When WISPER senses the damage, the network reacts to heal or repairs itself in real-time to maintain communication. Using this network, sensors can be used to monitor data such as location and vital signs of each and every emergency responder.
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