Lockheed Martin has developed a wireless sensor network that will change the way government users obtain information.

Known as SPAN, or the self-powered ad-hoc network system, the ground sensors are a kind of “field and forget” technology that will provide continuous, unobtrusive surveillance.

The typical sensor fits in the palm of the hand, and can be concealed easily.

SPAN gets its power source by harvesting energy from its surroundings. Its low-sensor cost is a result of having a subsystem that can re-charge itself by using simple energy sources in the surrounding area. The new product negates cost concerns of batteries and reduces manual servicing – necessary feature when used in a combat area.

The system’s sensor network uses a touch-screen interface to position the nodes. Information is locally processed using proprietary algorithms that reduce false alarms, providing intelligent situational awareness that can be integrated in military, border patrol and structural monitoring applications. This smart sensor network can cue a camera or unmanned aerial vehicle to further study an area, or call an engineer when a pipeline or bridge structure is in danger of fracture.

The system’s lighter power demand extends operational range, and its inconspicuous sensors reduce the likelihood of discovery and tampering, increasing the chances of persistent surveillance.  SPAN can also easily address needs for bridge, pipeline, aircraft and other structural monitoring requirements.

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