Innovation Exchange challenge: Transfer data to multiple nodes

This NSTIx challenge seeks to develop the transfer of data to multiple nodes to be able to maximise an intelligent sensor node mesh.

Opportunity Details


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Funding is up to a maximum of ~£60k per funded proposal. Additional funding may be made available for collaborative proposals. If this initial project shows the concept to be feasible, and the Co-Creation team agree, follow-on project funding will be likely.

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National Security often deploy sensors nodes that do a variety of functions to collect data in uncontrolled environments, such as to provide surveillance information in a difficult environment. The data collected could range from audio, video, radio-frequency, and countless other forms. Historically, a sensor node would be deployed, collect data as a single entity, and then be interpreted by a human either in real-time or at a later date.

However, with the rise of cheap low equity sensor nodes, there is the potential to deploy many more sensors in much more complex operational environments to gather significantly more data. Using the historical ways to collect data does not scale as it now becomes way too complex for a human to manage in the same way. By deploying ever increasing sensor node meshes, there is an opportunity to build intelligence into this system, with this Challenge focused on the secure transport of data within the sensor node mesh.

A related field that could be used for inspiration is a “smart” office environment, citing a study by Deniz Tuzcuoglu et al.. “Smart” offices of the future will look at occupancy usage, use sensor data to provide thermal comfort for the occupants, collect behavioural data to avoid occupational stress, adjust lighting and acoustics autonomously depending on the user preferences at that moment in time. This complex system could be used to increase the user experience, leading to a happier and more productive work force. It is clear however with this complexity in a sensor node mesh, the data collected and processed, and the autonomous adjusting of the physical environment (e.g., thermostat change) that there needs some intelligence in the system in both the compute side but also the communication within the sensor node mesh.

To be able to maximise an intelligent sensor node mesh, this Challenge focuses on the communication and transport of data between the nodes. At present, when considering nodes used for surveillance, the current processes of a human monitoring a single node does not scale when aiming to use multiple nodes at varying locations. Therefore, to enable automation and efficient communication between multiple nodes, there is development required on the transport of data between the nodes.

At the centre of this gap is scalability, reliability, self-healing, interoperability between a variety of devices, raw data collection flows, device redundancy and mesh issues at scale.

The proposal should focus on aiding our understanding of the technology landscape by reporting on existing methods and techniques that could be pivoted or used for our use case. We would also like to work towards working prototype(s) or demonstrations of various technologies and will accept a relatively low TRL. The question of whether a paper study or demonstrator make up the essence of the delivery will be the choice of the pitch supplier but the technical knowledge and quality deliverable is key.

This challenge is open to all UK based academic institutions, UK registered start-ups, SMEs and Primes.

Collaborative proposals are encouraged to pool collective strengths to co-create a viable solution to this challenge. Additional funding may be made available for collaborative proposals.


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