The system integrates moisture sensors, thermocouples and RFID tags [ 77 ].
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Qian et al. The new instrument monitors groundwater table and temperature through a sensor. An embedded singlechip processes the monitoring data and a GSM data module transfers the data wirelessly [ 16 ]. Bogena et al. Kim et al. Communication signals from the sensor network and irrigation controller to the base station were successfully interfaced using low-cost Bluetooth wireless radio communication [ 79 ]. Akyildiz and Stuntebeck reported an underground system for monitoring soil conditions, such as water and mineral content, in order to provide data for appropriate irrigation and fertilization.
Also, the system can be used for monitoring the presence and concentration of various toxic substances in soils near rivers and aquifers, where chemical runoff could contaminate drinking water supplies. Another application can be landslide prediction by monitoring soil movement [ 80 ]. The automation and efficiency on greenhouse environment monitoring and control are crucial. In order to control and monitor the environmental factors, sensors and actuators are essential.
Greenhouse crops can benefit a lot using WST, because inside the greenhouse the crop conditions such as climate and soil do not depend on natural agents. Thus, the implementations are easier than in outdoor applications. The first application of WSN in a greenhouse was reported in the year , it was a monitoring and control system developed by means of Bluetooth [ 81 ]. Since that year, several applications has been developed, most of them makes use of IEEE Gonda and Cugnasca presented a proposal of a distributed greenhouse control and monitoring system using ZigBee [ 82 ].
Yoo et al. Lea-Cox et al. Benefits came from an improved plant growth, more efficient water and fertilizer applications, together with a reduction in disease problems related to over-watering [ 13 ]. Liu et al. In the first part, several sensor nodes were used to measure temperature, light and soil moisture.
The other part consists of GSM module and the management software based on database running on the remote PC [ 15 ]. Zhou et al. Yang et al. The multi-spectral imaging system was used for remote sensing of the canopy of cabbage seedlings. Greenhouse temperature, relative humidity, and lighting conditions were measured above the crop [ 83 ]. Wang et al. Modern animal production has changed in recent years due to the use of precision tools.
Results of recent research have been used as inputs to preventive diagnostics and development of decision-making software in several areas, as well as to predict events. WST has been used as a new technique for measuring core body temperature that are minimally invasive and provide continuous, remote, real-time information. Together with body temperature WSN can obtain the oxygen saturation of cattle's blood using a pulse oximeter, location GPS , ambient temperature and respiration [ 85 ].
Mayer et al. A steer was instrumented with both internal and external sensors, using matchbox sized motes placed inside standard drug release capsules. The nodes monitored the intra-rumenal activity of the steer and communicate wirelessly with each other [ 60 ]. Marsh et al.
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Ipema et al. The main objective was to demonstrate that capsule-based wireless technology could work in cattle. The mote in the rumen transmitted data to the mote attached to the front leg of the cow; from there the signal was transmitted to the base station [ 56 ]. Evaluation of animal welfare can also be determined by wireless monitoring and enable the producer to make the right decision based on real-time management.
A study of wireless sensor networks applied to the monitoring of animal behaviour in the field is described. The problem of online monitoring of cows' presence and pasture time in an extended area covered by a strip of new grass using wireless sensor networks has been addressed [ 55 , 87 ]. Monitoring and control of the quality of indoor environment is very important for animal health and welfare and directly impacts productivity and quality. Ventilation in the stables must be managed in order to avoid long-term over-critical exposure of the animals to ammonia, causing stress, pour health and reduced productivity.
Cai et al. At the same time, ventilation and heating must be minimized in order to save energy while keeping temperatures at an adequate level. Cugnasca et al. The nodes were moved through the facility to determine different profiles of temperature, humidity and luminosity [ 89 ]. Darr and Zhao develop a wireless data acquisition system for monitoring temperature variations in swine barns [ 90 ]. Powered from a single 3. Thus ZigBee motes, were found to be suitable for monitoring in confined animal feeding operations environments [ 90 ]. The food industry is nowadays facing critical changes in response to consumer needs, which in addition to health and safety concerns, demand an ever larger diversity of food products with high quality standards.
The quality of these products might change rapidly, because they are submitted to a variety of risks during production, transport and storage that are responsible for material quality losses. Parties involved need better quality assurance methods to satisfy customer demands and to create a competitive point of difference. Successful supply chain logistics calls for automated and efficient monitoring and control of all operations.
The monitoring should allow establishing a better knowledge, detecting weakness, and optimizing the whole process, all things that potentially would have a significant impact on the supply chain [ 91 ]. Also, there is an increasing demand of traceability in the food chain, statutory requirements are growing stricter and there is increasing pressure to develop standardized traceability systems. From the raw material to the sale of goods, more and more information needs to be gathered and made available.
In the next years, the lowering cost of WST will provide the opportunity to track and trace not only large and expensive products, but small and cheap ones, creating a new generation of intelligence products [ 92 ]. Products can be tracked and traced from the field to the industry.
Anastasi et al. Nodes were deployed both in the field and in the cellar, where wine aging is performed [ 30 ]. WSN was also studied for the supervision of temperature during assessment of canned food sterilization, developing a mathematical model analyzing wireless sensor nodes during the process [ 94 ]. Perishable food products such as vegetables, fruit, meat or fish require refrigerated transports.
Therefore, temperature is the most important factor when prolonging the practical shelf life of perishable food products. Studying and analyzing temperature gradients inside refrigeration rooms, containers, and trucks is a primary concern of the industry.
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The supply chain management of fresh foods requires fast decisions because goods are forwarded within hours after arrival at the distribution center. Appropriate planning calls for more information than that which could be provided by standard RFID tracking and tracing. Quality problems should be detected as quickly as possible, and alarms should be triggered when temperature gradients cross a threshold. Even if direct access to the means of transport is not possible, online notifications offer new opportunities for improved transport planning.
The use of wireless sensors in refrigerated vehicles was proposed by Qingshan et al. The vehicles can host a variety of sensors to detect, identify, log, and communicate what happens during the journey, monitoring the status of perishable products in transport see Figure 2. ZigBee motes were validated for their use under cooling conditions in warehouses, studying the behavior of the motes in fruit chambers. Also, the psychrometric data model was implemented for quick assessment of changes in the absolute water content of air. Thus it was possible to address water loss from the products, and also to detect condensation on the commodities [ 25 ].
Proposal of WSN inside refrigerated trucks [ 57 ]. The fresh fish logistic chain can be also monitored using WST. Hayes et al. The application is built around a web server and bespoke wireless data loggers operating over a GSM network [ 17 ]. Abad et al. The system provide real-time traceability information of the product to the different fish distribution chain links [ 48 ]. McMeekin used active sensors to record spatial temperature profiles [ 95 ]. Gras used passive RFID loggers to test the probability to find a certain temperature in a transport, but did not go into spatial deviations [ 96 ].
Amador et al. Jedermann et al.
These kinds of applications can register temperatures during transportation and distribution but the transmission range is less than one meter and they are not able to develop advanced network topologies like the ZigBee devices can do [ 46 ]. The accuracy of data loggers is a critical issue in cold chain management. This accuracy becomes even more important if the objective is early detection of temperature changes and gradients. RFID data loggers are available in high quantities, but they require manual handling because of their low reading range.
Another disadvantage is that temperature loggers are only available for the The major drawback of this band is the limited reading range of about 20 cm. If a gate reader scans items automatically upon arrival at the warehouse, the reading range has to cover several meters. Also these tags take around five seconds to transfer recorded temperature values over the RFID interface [ 45 ]. A high data rate is required according to a normal flow of goods in a warehouse. Environmental temperature can differs from each other depending in the location of the logger, packing material, or heat dissipation of the product [ 98 , 99 ].
Semi-passive loggers can be also used to measure, not just the walls of the vehicle, but also inside the boxes [ 46 ]. There are available commercial solutions for monitoring containers and trucks, but they do not bring complete information about the cargo, because they typically measure in a single or very limited number of points [ 14 ]. Craddock and Stansfield proposed sensor fusion for the development of smart containers in order to improve security, gathering data from several sources in order to trigger the alarms.
Containers may incorporate a variety of sensors to detect, identify, log and communicate what happens during their journeys around the world [ ]. Such devices can be placed in transport vehicles in order to monitor the on-the-go environment and can be the basis for distributed systems, enabling environment sensing together with data processing [ 14 ].
In the intermodal transportation, the performance of radio waves inside metal enclosed areas was studied. Furh and Lau tested a RF device in a metal cargo container and demonstrated that it is possible to communicate with the outside world [ ]. Laniel et al.
Three different types of radio frequency configurations were tested: 2. The main goal was to find a frequency and configuration that would allow real time reading of the temperature in a shipment of perishable products using RFID. The results showed a significantly higher performance at the MHz level [ ]. Appropriated monitoring requires an increasing number of measurements to be performed in food logistics. Specialized WST monitoring devices promise to revolutionize the shipping and handling of a wide range of perishable products giving suppliers and distributors continuous and accurate readings throughout the distribution process.
Precise, frequent and automated readings, interpreted by software and coordinated with existing and planned product inventories, should translate into more intelligent goods management and fewer rejected shipments. They could be used to remedy the cause of the problem. But even if a direct access to the means of transport is not possible, online notifications offer new opportunities for improve transport planning.
If fixed delivery commitments require ordering of a replacement, the time of information is very crucial. After reviewing the applications presented in this paper, one main conclusion is that WSN and RFID are interesting and complementary, because they were originally designed with rather different objectives RFID for identification while WSN for sensing. An integration of WSN and RFID allow synergies, WSN uses a variety of sensors like the ones that were mentioned previously, but they cannot identify objects individually while RFID allow the identification of items like container, pallet, boxes or bottles.
Both prices will drop; the price of sensor nodes will decrease a bit quicker when their mass production starts, but will always be a multiple of the costs of RFID loggers. The first one, mix RFID tags and sensor nodes in the same environment. A station gather information from tags and sensor nodes then transmit it to local host computer or remote server. The second architecture was a new smart node, which makes use of kinds of sensors, to detect interested physical scenario, reading RFID tags, and radio transceiver which transporting sensed data.
The active tag is similar to a mote, but they are not exactly sensor network nodes because they communicate in centralized mode and cannot cooperate with each other through formed ad-hoc networks. Nevertheless, replace all active RFID tags to sensor nodes can be expensive in a large amount of applications [ ].
Pereira et al. In both sceneries special wireless sensor nodes that can also read RFID tags are used. The use of WST in agriculture and food industry provides new features that have the potential to be an economically viable replacement to wired networks. The value of technology can be best realized when integrated with agronomic knowledge, using the information gathered in the improvement of decision support systems. Also improving operations by providing early warning of equipment failure and a predictive maintenance tool, improving energy management, providing automatic record-keeping for regulatory compliance, eliminating personnel training costs or reducing insurance costs.
The collaboration and synergy of sensing, processing, communication and actuation is the next step to exploit the potential of these technologies. From to the evolution of RFID technology has been developed very fast, adding new features to traditional automatic identification and data capture applications. However, a significant proportion of RFID deployments remain exploratory. Semi-passive tags can be used to monitor environmental variables, such as the temperature, to identify problem areas and to raise alarms.
RFID loggers are good tools that are available in high quantities and are cost-effective. However, they require manual handling because of their low reading range. The main advantages of WSN for monitoring are its longer reading range than RFID, the flexibility and different network topologies that can be configured, the variety of sensors that are already implemented and their low power consumption.
Battery life, reliability of measurements and performance in real environments are critical issues that must be improved. One problem might be that these monitoring systems create huge volumes of data that are difficult to manage, causing a huge increase in the daily volume of data in a corporate information technology system. This increase impacts the hardware cost required for implementing monitoring systems. Neither manual evaluation nor transmission over mobile networks is feasible due to limited bandwidth and expensive usage rates.
The solution lies in implementing a decentralized data management system. Data must be pre-processed close to their point of origin by intelligent systems, which could be sited at the level of RFID, motes or the sink. There is a need to know the long-term behaviour of the systems. Most of the applications reported in this paper have short experimental periods days or weeks.
Longer testing and experimentation is necessary for validate some of applications presented. Another important benefit of the systems is the visibility that it can give along the food chain. Measurements obtained are consistent and provide valuable information on the conditions encountered during the life cycle of the products.
It is possible to address, at regular time increments, what is happening with the product, whether it is temperature, humidity, acceleration, etc. Another advantage is providing effective support in legal situations as well as safety inspections. For this purpose, some theoretical approaches have been presented, but a lot of work remains to be done. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Sensors Basel v. Sensors Basel. Published online Jun Find articles by Luis Ruiz-Garcia.
Find articles by Loredana Lunadei. Find articles by Pilar Barreiro. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The aim of the present paper is to review the technical and scientific state of the art of wireless sensor technologies and standards for wireless communications in the Agri-Food sector.
Wired vs. Wireless WSN can operate in a wide range of environments and provide advantages in cost, size, power, flexibility and distributed intelligence, compared to wired ones. Table 1. Comparison between Bluetooth and ZigBee. Open in a separate window. Bluetooth vs. WST Applications This section presents most relevant applications in agriculture and food industry. Physical Aspects of Applying WST in Agriculture and Food Industry Radio propagation in real environments is complex due to multipath propagation, shadowing and attenuation.
Climate Influence Signal loss due to atmospheric conditions should be considered because the climate does influence the communication links [ 54 ]. Crop Canopy Influence Another factor that changes over time is the density of the leaves in the crop. Environmental Monitoring WSN become an important issue in environmental monitoring.
Climate Monitoring The automation of the monitoring process can be used in diverse types of climates and conditions. Fire Detection Current surveillance systems use a camera, an infrared sensor system and a satellite system.
The new market for Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN)
Precision Agriculture The development of WST applications in precision agriculture see Figure 1 makes possible to increase efficiencies, productivity and profitability while minimizing unintended impacts on wildlife and the environment, in many agricultural production systems. Figure 1. Proposal of remote sensing architecture in precision agriculture. Farm Machinery WSN implemented in off-road vehicles, such as tractors or combine harvester, allow exchanging data with static infrastructure or with other vehicles, creating of mobile WSN.
Viticulture Plant monitoring, also called phytomonitoring, is easier using WST. Precision Irrigation Efficient water management is a major concern in many crop systems. Greenhouses The automation and efficiency on greenhouse environment monitoring and control are crucial. Precision Livestock Modern animal production has changed in recent years due to the use of precision tools.
Food Industry The food industry is nowadays facing critical changes in response to consumer needs, which in addition to health and safety concerns, demand an ever larger diversity of food products with high quality standards. Cold Chain Monitoring and Traceability Perishable food products such as vegetables, fruit, meat or fish require refrigerated transports. Figure 2. References and Notes 1. Dursch A. Bluetooth technology: an exploratory study of the analysis and implementation frameworks. Baronti P. Wireless sensor networks: A survey on the state of the art and the ISO Radio frequency identification of animals — Code structure.
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