We present the design and evaluation of a 3.5-year embedded sensing deployment at the Mithræum of Circus Maximus, a UNESCO-protected underground archaeological site in Rome (Italy). Unique to our work is the use of energy harvesting through thermal and kinetic energy sources. The extreme scarcity and erratic availability of energy, however, pose great challenges in system software, embedded hardware, and energy management. We tackle them by testing, for the first time in a multi-year deployment, existing solutions in intermittent computing, low-power hardware, and energy harvesting. Through three major design iterations, we find that these solutions operate as isolated silos and lack integration into a complete system, performing suboptimally. In contrast, we demonstrate the efficient performance of a hardware/software co-design featuring accurate energy management and capturing the coupling between energy sources and sensed quantities. Installing a battery-operated system alongside also allows us to perform a comparative study of energy harvesting in a demanding setting. Albeit the latter reduces energy availability and thus lowers the data yield to about 22% of that provided by batteries, our system provides a comparable level of insight into environmental conditions and structural health of the site. Further, unlike existing energy-harvesting deployments that are limited to a few months of operation in the best cases, our system runs with zero maintenance since almost 2 years, including 3 months of site inaccessibility due to a COVID19 lockdown.

Battery-less zero-maintenance embedded sensing at the mithræum of circus maximus

Afanasov M.;Bhatti N. A.;Caslini G.;Dolui K.;Maioli A.;Mottola L.
2020-01-01

Abstract

We present the design and evaluation of a 3.5-year embedded sensing deployment at the Mithræum of Circus Maximus, a UNESCO-protected underground archaeological site in Rome (Italy). Unique to our work is the use of energy harvesting through thermal and kinetic energy sources. The extreme scarcity and erratic availability of energy, however, pose great challenges in system software, embedded hardware, and energy management. We tackle them by testing, for the first time in a multi-year deployment, existing solutions in intermittent computing, low-power hardware, and energy harvesting. Through three major design iterations, we find that these solutions operate as isolated silos and lack integration into a complete system, performing suboptimally. In contrast, we demonstrate the efficient performance of a hardware/software co-design featuring accurate energy management and capturing the coupling between energy sources and sensed quantities. Installing a battery-operated system alongside also allows us to perform a comparative study of energy harvesting in a demanding setting. Albeit the latter reduces energy availability and thus lowers the data yield to about 22% of that provided by batteries, our system provides a comparable level of insight into environmental conditions and structural health of the site. Further, unlike existing energy-harvesting deployments that are limited to a few months of operation in the best cases, our system runs with zero maintenance since almost 2 years, including 3 months of site inaccessibility due to a COVID19 lockdown.
Proceedings of the 2020 18th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems
9781450375900
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1158309
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