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Technology Powers Wireless Greenhouse of the Future

Mon, 06/16/2008 - 10:55am

GreenPeak Technologies, a leader in battery-free communication technology for wireless sense and control applications, announces that Kronos has selected GreenPeak’s low-power wireless mesh networking technology for one of their wireless terminals. Hortimax, a Kronos VAR (value added reseller), is active in greenhouse harvesting management systems. In one of their projects, a harvest administration system is used to monitor the activity and location of individual mobile harvesting carts. This solution is based on the Kronos wireless terminal and uses GreenPeak’s wireless mesh technology to transmit data from individual mobile harvesting carts to routers, which enables the data to be gathered and analyzed in a central coordinator unit. The wireless technology allows the monitoring of individual pickers’ efficiency. Compared to the old situation, where only the average picking weight per corridor and not per individual picker was known, the new system was able to increase overall greenhouse productivity by 15%.

Kronos selected GreenPeak’s wireless networking technology was its excellent performance in radio unfriendly environments. GreenPeak’s multi-hop, mesh technology enables each wireless sensor and actuator device, utilizing integrated mesh software, to act as a repeater for other wireless devices even if one or more are blocked by metal, dense foliage or high humidity levels.

The sensor nodes form a mesh network by sending messages through intermediate nodes from source to destination. This approach enables the network to span larger distances (even when individual nodes can only see a local area of the network), allowing site-wide wireless coverage throughout the greenhouse. The ability to track which areas have been harvested and how much has been picked also enables greenhouse operators to quickly implement corrections in spraying and fertilizing patterns and scheduling, thereby allowing for a richer harvest.?”

With traumatic brain injury (TBI) affecting a significant number of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States Department of Defense is providing the Brain Trauma Foundation a $4.6 million, four-year award to lead the development of an eye-tracking device that will enable military personnel to determine within seconds if a soldier has been subjected to TBI — allowing for faster and more appropriate treatment and, ultimately, better outcomes.

Described as “the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts,” mild traumatic brain injury is estimated to have affected between 10% and 22% of the 1.5 million soldiers deployed to combat — largely the result of increased exposure to improvised explosive devices. The true TBI incidence rate among soldiers, however, could be much higher, as the condition can be difficult to detect and is often under-diagnosed since symptoms are relatively common and can be confused with psychological rather than physical injury.

“Mild traumatic brain injury can cause small tears in the brain’s connections and have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to concentrate, process information and perform even basic functions requiring attention and memory,” said Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, President of the Brain Trauma Foundation, Clinical Professor of Neurological surgery at Weill Cornell and the Principal Investigator of this project.

The rugged, hand-held device, which will be developed by Foster-Miller, a Boston-based engineering company, will be designed to detect decreased attention capability by tracking eye movements. Current neuropsychological testing of military personnel and athletes can take at least half an hour to detect concussions, whereas this device will accurately detect problems within seconds.

Telehealth, using telecommunication technology to deliver health care, is increasingly being used to improve the delivery and availability of health care services to patients. A University of Missouri researcher found that patients who received a telehealth intervention from care providers had significantly delayed hospital readmission rates when compared to patients who received traditional care.

“Telehealth interventions have the potential to allow for earlier detection of key clinical symptoms, triggering early intervention from providers and reducing the need for patient hospitalization,” said Bonnie Wakefield, assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “Reducing the length and frequency of hospital stays can lower healthcare costs for patients and hospitals, which helps patients manage their diseases and ultimately feel better.”

To understand how the use of technology affects patient-provider interactions, Wakefield evaluated the effectiveness of a telehealth home-based intervention in patients with heart failure. Patients were selected randomly to receive follow-up by telephone or videophone after hospitalization for heart failure. According to Wakefield, previous research on traditional clinic visits found that quality patient-provider relationships can improve patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment, clinical outcomes and understanding of information.

Wakefield said it is critical to match technologies to patient needs and further evaluation is needed to determine which patients may benefit most from specific telehealth applications and which technologies are most cost effective.

“Although older patients may not be accustomed to using technology, it doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to learn,” Wakefield said. “Older patients feel they are contributing to society and education by testing innovative technology. They appreciate when health care professionals take time to invest in their well-being."

SEH's PS56 is an IPv6-enabled print server connecting all HP output devices that have an EIO port to a wireless 54Mbit network (802.11g), utilizing the highly-secure WPA and WPA2 WLAN encryption standards.

Contrary to the previous WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption standard, WPA and WPA2 standards have not yet been cracked, and are currently regarded as the safest protection for WLANs. To further enhance security, the PS56 also includes TLS/SSL encryption, and several IEEE 802.1X authentication methods.

Maintaining maximum security for network printing in WLANs is now essential, given the trend toward utilizing WLANs for fast and cost-effective extensions of cabled networks, networked operations in buildings.

The SEH PS56 print server utilizes WPA/WPA2 (both the Personal and Enterprise mode) encryption, which is currently thought to be the safest standard possible for WLAN access points. The standard utilizes dynamic keys for encryption, providing a stronger encryption mechanism through Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES is mandatory for meeting the FIPS 140-2 (Federal Information Processing Standard), which outlines U.S. Federal government requirements for IT's products implementing cryptography. The WPA2 standard is increasingly gaining importance in the financial and insurance industries. The PS56 is also compatible with those networks utilizing the prior WEP standard, as well as the WLAN standard 802.11b.

Users will find it easy to wirelessly connect HP printers and MFPs utilizing the PS56. The interface card simply slides into the respective slot on the printer unit. The PS56 is also easily configured and managed, and is IPv6-enabled. It features the latest ThinPrint .print client, including ThinPrint SSL support, as well as several authentication methods according to IEEE802.1X.
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