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US20100038440A1 - Method and system for remote wireless monitoring and control of climate in greenhouses - Google Patents

Method and system for remote wireless monitoring and control of climate in greenhouses Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100038440A1
US20100038440A1 US12537772 US53777209A US2010038440A1 US 20100038440 A1 US20100038440 A1 US 20100038440A1 US 12537772 US12537772 US 12537772 US 53777209 A US53777209 A US 53777209A US 2010038440 A1 US2010038440 A1 US 2010038440A1
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Prior art keywords
sensor
control
network
wireless
climate
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Abandoned
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US12537772
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Bulut F. Ersavas
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ClimateMinder Inc
Rain Bird Corp
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Kodalfa Bilgi ve Iletisim Teknolojileri San Tic AS
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01GHORTICULTURE; CULTIVATION OF VEGETABLES, FLOWERS, RICE, FRUIT, VINES, HOPS OR SEAWEED; FORESTRY; WATERING
    • A01G25/00Watering gardens, fields, sports grounds, or the like
    • A01G25/02Watering arrangements located above the soil which make use of perforated pipe-lines or pipe-lines with dispensing fittings, e.g. for drip irrigation
    • A01G25/023Dispensing fittings for drip irrigation, e.g. drippers
    • A01G2/00
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01GHORTICULTURE; CULTIVATION OF VEGETABLES, FLOWERS, RICE, FRUIT, VINES, HOPS OR SEAWEED; FORESTRY; WATERING
    • A01G25/00Watering gardens, fields, sports grounds, or the like
    • A01G25/16Control of watering
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01GHORTICULTURE; CULTIVATION OF VEGETABLES, FLOWERS, RICE, FRUIT, VINES, HOPS OR SEAWEED; FORESTRY; WATERING
    • A01G25/00Watering gardens, fields, sports grounds, or the like
    • A01G25/16Control of watering
    • A01G25/167Control by humidity of the soil itself or of devices simulating soil or of the atmosphere; Soil humidity sensors
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05BSPRAYING APPARATUS; ATOMISING APPARATUS; NOZZLES
    • B05B12/00Arrangements or special adaptations of delivery controlling means in spraying systems
    • B05B12/02Arrangements or special adaptations of delivery controlling means in spraying systems for controlling time, or sequence, of delivery
    • B05B12/04Arrangements or special adaptations of delivery controlling means in spraying systems for controlling time, or sequence, of delivery for sequential operation or multiple outlets
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B19/00Programme-control systems
    • G05B19/02Programme-control systems electric
    • G05B19/04Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers
    • G05B19/042Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers using digital processors
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D7/00Control of flow
    • G05D7/06Control of flow characterised by the use of electric means
    • G05D7/0617Control of flow characterised by the use of electric means specially adapted for fluid materials
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/10Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which an application is distributed across nodes in the network
    • H04W4/70
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/26Pc applications
    • G05B2219/2625Sprinkler, irrigation, watering

Abstract

A remote wireless climate monitoring and control system for a greenhouse is provided. The system includes a wireless sensor network including a plurality of sensor nodes for monitoring climate conditions in the greenhouse and controlling one or more climate control systems. The system also includes a server computer system located remotely from the greenhouse. The server computer system is coupled to the wireless sensor network over a communications network for receiving data from and controlling operation of the sensor nodes. The server computer system is also coupled to a device operated by an end-user over a communications network for transmitting the data to and receiving remote control commands or queries from the end-user.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority from Turkish Patent Application No. 2008/05998, filed on Aug. 12, 2008, entitled REMOTE WIRELESS CLIMATE MONITORING AND CONTROL SYSTEM FOR GREENHOUSES, and Turkish Patent Application No. 2009/00883, filed on Feb. 5, 2009, entitled REMOTE WIRELESS CLIMATE MONITORING AND CONTROL SYSTEM FOR GREENHOUSES, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to climate monitoring and control systems that monitor and control the climate (temperature, humidity, lighting, etc.) within greenhouses.
  • [0003]
    Existing greenhouse climate monitoring and control systems are generally formed by wired or simple wireless sensors. With existing wired systems, measurements taken by sensors are transferred thorough wires typically to a computer or programmable logic controller (PLC) circuitry within the greenhouse. Collected measurements can be monitored and climate control systems in the greenhouse can be managed through computer software provided to the end user or through management panels. In existing systems, sensor nodes are typically only used to collect measurements, and not to directly activate control mechanisms. Control is instead performed by the computer or a controller device in the greenhouse.
  • [0004]
    Remote management for existing systems is possible by connecting these computers to the Internet through modems.
  • [0005]
    For newer greenhouses where wired solutions are preferred, cable and installation costs can be significantly more expensive than the cost of sensors. In addition, cables coming from tens of sensors and passing through the plants could obstruct greenhouse production and cause disconnections in the sensor network.
  • [0006]
    In existing wired systems, sensors cannot easily be relocated within the greenhouse after being fixed to a certain location with the wiring. Moreover, because of the difficulties of installation and cost, only a limited number of sensors are often installed. This restricts the flexibility and the scalability of the system, and the ability to use collected measurements to correct each other. Moreover, these systems are typically unsuitable for micro-climate management.
  • [0007]
    As for the existing wireless solutions, because they generally use a single-hop architecture, they can experience significant scalability and reliability problems especially when managing large areas. In addition, many existing applications fail to provide efficient micro-climate management. Similarly, in existing wireless systems, a local computer or a management console is needed in the greenhouse or somewhere close by.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    In accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, a remote wireless climate monitoring and control system for a greenhouse is provided. The system includes a wireless sensor network comprising a plurality of sensor nodes for monitoring climate conditions in the greenhouse and controlling one or more climate control systems. The system also includes a server computer system located remotely from the greenhouse. The server computer system is coupled to the wireless sensor network over a communications network for receiving data from and controlling operation of the sensor nodes. The server computer system is also coupled to a device such as a cell phone or a personal computer operated by an end-user over a communications network for transmitting the data to and receiving remote control commands or queries from the end-user.
  • [0009]
    In accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, a method of monitoring and controlling climate conditions in a greenhouse is provided. The method includes communicating with a wireless sensor network installed in the greenhouse over a communications network. The wireless sensor network comprises a plurality of sensor nodes for monitoring climate conditions in the greenhouse and controlling one or more climate control systems. Communicating with the wireless sensor network comprises receiving data from and controlling operation of the sensor nodes. The method also includes a step of communicating with a device such as a cell phone a personal computer operated by an end-user over a communications network for transmitting the data to and receiving remote control commands or queries from the end-user.
  • [0010]
    Various embodiments of the invention are provided in the following detailed description. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details may be capable of modifications in various respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not in a restrictive or limiting sense, with the scope of the application being indicated in the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a remote wireless climate monitoring and control system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating a wireless sensor network in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating a data collection and alarm message transfer process flow in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a data query process in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating a control condition dissemination process in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a control mechanism execution process in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0017]
    A remote wireless climate monitoring and control system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention provides significantly improved scalability and reliability because information is transferred from sensor node to node and then to a central server computer system, and the wireless sensor network can reconfigure itself dynamically.
  • [0018]
    Furthermore, in a system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, wireless sensor networks are used to collect climate data and to control the climate. This system offers numerous advantages including wireless installation, flexibility, and scalability. Since additional sensor units can be easily and cost effectively implemented, there is improved accuracy on measurements, and micro-climate management is possible. Due to micro-climatization, growth of small plant groups can be monitored and surrounding conditions can be adjusted accordingly.
  • [0019]
    In a wireless climate monitoring and control system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, climate parameters (temperature, light, humidity etc.) measured by the sensors within the greenhouse are stored in a server computer at a remote central location. Management and data storage on a central server as described herein reduces costs for the end users and makes the installation and remote management of the climate monitoring and control system easier. Remote control commands or control condition set values sent through the central server (from a cell phone or any computer on the Internet) are transmitted to wireless sensor nodes in the greenhouse, allowing manual and/or automatic control functionality.
  • [0020]
    In a system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, data is transmitted from the sensor network to the main server computer through cellular networks or using broadband communication technology. In this manner, data coming from multiple sensor networks (or greenhouses) is consolidated and stored in a central computer server and then monitored/managed remotely through web, cell phone, or text message (SMS) applications.
  • [0021]
    A system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention allows monitoring climate conditions (temperature, humidity, light etc.) and controlling climate control systems inside the network by sensor nodes. In addition, it addresses how data collected by multiple sensor networks are stored in a central server and how control commands passing through this server are processed to manage the climate.
  • [0022]
    In a system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, data is transferred from sensor networks to the central server through a cellular network or a wireless broadband communications technology. Data coming from a plurality of greenhouses (local sensor networks) are consolidated and stored in the central computer server. Climate measurements taken are provided to the end users through web, cell phone, and/or text message (SMS) applications. Moreover, the system enables remote control commands to be sent to the greenhouse.
  • [0023]
    In a system in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, climate parameters (temperature, humidity, light etc.) can be continuously monitored and, for undesired values, automatic preventive actions can be taken before the products are harmed. For example, when sensors detect excessive light, actuators can trigger the motors controlling shading curtains to close. When the temperature is too high, vents can be automatically opened and if necessary irrigation system can be activated. Also, for any readings beyond pre-defined thresholds, the end user is notified, e.g., by a short message (SMS, MMS, etc.) to his or her cell phone or via e-mail.
  • [0024]
    Systems in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention can be easily installed in greenhouses due use of wireless and battery powered components. This reduces wiring costs and pollution. At the same time, since no computer system is installed within the greenhouse, the total system cost is reduced and maintenance is made easier.
  • [0025]
    In order to increase productivity in greenhouses, prevent losses occurring because of frost and various diseases, and to improve quality, a controlled production environment is a needed. One important element of building such an environment is an automation system. Due to automation systems, the climate within the greenhouse can be kept at generally ideal conditions for the plants, thereby achieving generally maximum production performance. Systems in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention make greenhouse automation affordable, easy to use, and provide flexibility of use.
  • [0026]
    In accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, nodes of the wireless sensor network setup in the greenhouse are generally operated in sleep mode to reduce battery consumption. Sensor nodes wake up at certain time periods and listen to the signals to see if there is any data sent to them. If there is a signal with data addressed to them, they process the data or forward it to another node and then go to a sleep mode again by turning off their RF transmitter and receiver. Likewise, in certain periods, they take measurements and send it to either the main gateway (base station) or to the neighbor node with best data link quality. They then go back to a sleep mode after the transmission. A multi-hop structure used in the sensor network increases the energy efficiency by keeping the RF signal power at lower levels. In addition to increasing energy efficiency by sending the data through other nodes across short distances, sensor nodes can easily extend the total coverage area with this structure.
  • [0027]
    Remote wireless climate monitoring and control systems in accordance with various embodiments of the invention thus provide a number of advantages. The systems provide improved scalability and reliability. The systems enable usage of significantly larger number of sensor units. The systems achieve high accuracy and micro-climatization. The systems enable monitoring small plant groups and controlling the environment accordingly. The systems enable remote management of climate monitoring and control system through Internet, cellular phone and/or SMS applications. The systems reduce system and management costs for the end user. The systems consolidate and store measurements coming from multiple sensor networks (at respective greenhouses) on a central computer server. These systems sense climate conditions (temperature, humidity, light etc.) and to control climate systems in the network with the sensor nodes. The systems enable wireless communication, monitoring, and management from far distances. The systems enable the usage of a multi-hop dynamic network structure. The systems enable remote monitoring and control of wireless sensor networks setup in greenhouses via a central computer server. The systems reduce cable pollution and installation difficulties. The systems provide capabilities to automatically prevent damages to plants from undesired climate values (temperature, humidity, light etc.). The systems increase productivity in greenhouses. The systems prevent losses due to frost and various diseases. The systems create a controlled production environment in order to increase product quality. The systems achieve significantly improved production performance.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 1 illustrates the architecture of a remote wireless climate monitoring and control system for a greenhouse 10 in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. The system includes a wireless sensor network 12 having a plurality of sensor nodes S1-S16 installed in the greenhouse 10. FIG. 2 schematically illustrates an exemplary wireless sensor network. The sensor nodes S1-S16 form an ad-hoc (i.e., dynamic) wireless sensor network and monitor climate conditions and collect measurements. The sensor nodes S1-S16 send these measurements to a central computer server 14 through a communications network 16 such as a cellular network 16 (e.g., GPRS, Edge, UMTS etc.) or a wireless wideband network (e.g., WiMAX).
  • [0029]
    The central computer server 14 receives measurements and other data from a plurality of greenhouses. The measurements/data collected from member greenhouses are stored in a database on the central server 14. End users can access collected data over a web page on a device 18 such as a personal computer over the Internet 22 or through a cell phone application 20. The end users can use the same applications to send commands to the sensor nodes S1-S16 to trigger actuators for climate control systems (e.g., heating, ventilation, misting units etc.) and provide manual and/or automatic remote control capability.
  • [0030]
    The sensor nodes S1-S16 installed inside the greenhouse 10 transfer the data they collect to a main gateway/base communication node 24 by relaying the data through other sensor nodes S1-S16 known as neighbor nodes. The sensor nodes S1-S16 identify their neighbor nodes based on signal quality. In particular, the sensor nodes S1-S16 identify nodes that provide the best quality data transfer link and transfer data through the neighbor with which the best quality data transfer link can be established. The neighbor node, which is used as a bridge, is called parent node. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, any node that receives data from another node is a parent node. For example, node S13 is the parent of node S16, and node S10 is the parent of node S13.
  • [0031]
    If there is a communication problem between a sensor node and its parent, the sensor node starts to use one of its other neighbors as its parent node. In this way, the sensor network 12 reconfigures or heals itself dynamically. Hence sensor nodes S1-S16 can easily be relocated to different spots in the greenhouse.
  • [0032]
    End users can operate devices such as a cell phone 20 having a cell phone application or short text message communication application or a personal computer having a web application to facilitate communication with the central server 14 and retrieve information from the central greenhouse information and measurement database.
  • [0033]
    The wireless sensor network 12 includes a plurality of sensor nodes S1-S16, which have sensing (e.g., temperature, lighting, humidity etc.), processing and communication capabilities and can be battery operated. The network 12 is generally used to monitor the environment and interact with the physical world.
  • [0034]
    The wireless sensor network 12 also includes a main gateway/base communication (root/sink) node 24, which is the main communication device where all data is collected and from which the data is transferred to the central computer server 14.
  • [0035]
    The central server or main computer 14 collects data from all member sensor networks. The central computer also distributes various data to member sensor networks. A software program that collects and processes data through Internet protocols such as TCP or UDP, and a database runs on this computer.
  • [0036]
    The climate in the greenhouse is monitored and controlled by using wireless sensor and control nodes S1-S16. Sensor nodes S1-S16 form an ad-hoc (dynamic) network as soon as they are installed in the greenhouse. Sensor nodes share collected sensor information (temperature, humidity, light, soil humidity, EC, PH, and CO2 etc) with each other and transmit to main gateway 24.
  • [0037]
    Communication between the wireless sensor network 12 in the greenhouse and the central server 14 is established by using, e.g., GPRS, Edge, 3G, UMTS or similar technologies over cellular network 16 or a wireless broadband data communication service such as WiMAX. Main gateway device 24 includes hardware for communicating with the wireless sensor network 12 in the greenhouse and the cellular network 16.
  • [0038]
    Data coming over the cellular network 16 is collected and transferred to central server 14 using the Internet 22 by using Internet protocols such as TCP and/or UDP by the cell phone operator.
  • [0039]
    The central main server 14 is the central computer system where measurement data from greenhouses is collected and served to end users through the Internet 22 or by cell phone 20. At the same time, end users initially transfer the queries they will be sending to greenhouses or system parameters like control conditions to the main server 14. Main computer server 14 transfers this information to the network inside the greenhouse through channels as described below in FIGS. 3 and 4.
  • [0040]
    The system provides network management and monitoring capability through cell phones 20. End users can query the sensor readings inside the network by sending short text messages (SMS) or by using a client application installed on their cell phone 20. At the same time, end users can activate various climate control systems such as heating, ventilation, or misting through their cell phones 20 and ask for text message alerts to be delivered to their cell phones 20.
  • [0041]
    The system also provides network management and monitoring capability through a web enabled device 18. Data collected on sensor networks 12 is stored in a central database. Using a web application, this data is processed and served to the customer. At the same time, commands can be sent to nodes S1-S16 in the network 12 through this web application 18. Access to web application 18 is restricted to end users or other users who are authorized by the owner.
  • [0042]
    One or more embodiments of the invention are directed to setting up a wireless sensor network 12 inside a greenhouse and sensor node features and placement techniques.
  • [0043]
    Wireless sensor nodes S1-S16 can be placed with a distance of 30 m to 200 m between each other. Depending on the structure of the greenhouse, the construction type/material or the type of the product produced, this distance can be shorter or longer. If nodes see each other, this helps them to get better quality signals. Placement of sensor nodes in the greenhouse can be adjusted by looking at the signal link quality between nodes and parent information for each node by using the web application 18. If there is no sensor measurement flow from one node to the other, this may indicate that the nodes are not within each others coverage areas. When this is the case, the node outside coverage area of the other should be moved closer. Sensor nodes can easily be fixed to poles in the greenhouse using, e.g., double sided tape or cable ties.
  • [0044]
    Wireless sensor nodes with integrated dry contacts (relays) can be tied to climate control systems operating with electricity such as vents, fans, heating, heat curtains, shade curtains, misting, cooling pads, or alarm bell to provide control capability.
  • [0045]
    The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system developed in accordance with various embodiments of the invention has three main process flows: (a) data collection and alarm message transfer process, (b) data query process, and (c) control condition dissemination and control mechanism execution process. Detailed explanations for these processes are provided below with respect to the flow diagrams of FIGS. 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 3 illustrates the data collection and alarm message transfer process flow. Wireless sensor nodes S1-S16 are programmed before they are installed in the greenhouse. During the programming, each sensor node takes a unique serial id and each greenhouse/network is assigned a unique code. The same sensor nodes S1-S16 are also addressed with a number for easy recognition in the greenhouse. The serial numbers used are unique and all sensor nodes S1-S16 have different numbers from each other. However, addresses need only be unique within the wireless sensor network 12 for a particular greenhouse. For example, a sensor node with address 1 (one) can exist in more than one wireless sensor network 12. In this way, during dissemination data can be sent to the right address, and during collection the source address of the incoming data can easily be identified.
  • [0047]
    After installation in the greenhouse, sensor nodes S1-S16 discover the closest and most reliable path to the base communication node (root) 24 and form an ad-hoc (dynamic) network as shown in step (A1). Those nodes which do not have a direct communication link to the base node 24 discover routes to transfer data through other neighboring nodes. During route selection, signal quality and the number of nodes in the route are considered. Sensor nodes S1-S16 periodically (at predefined intervals) measure environmental climate conditions such as temperature, humidity, and light as shown in step (A2). Sensor nodes S1-S16 that take measurements transfer their data to the base node 24 according to the route they discovered in step A1 at step (A3). Base communication node 24 transfers the data it collects from the network to the main server 14 through cellular network or wideband wireless network 16 at step (A4). Data transferred from base communication node 24 to the cellular connectivity terminal is stored in buffer memory to protect losses against communication failures or shortages. The main server 14 processes all the data coming from sensor networks 12 and stores them in the database at step (A5). A software program running on main server 14 compares incoming data to alarm conditions at step (A6). If an alarm situation exists, depending on the transfer medium determined at step (A7), either an e-mail at step (A8) or a short text message (SMS) at step (A9) is sent to the end user.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 4 illustrates the data query process flow in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. The end user can query the sensor readings from the wireless sensors in the greenhouse via cell phone 20 or Web device 18 at step (B1). For this process, end users can use their cell phones 20 to send short text messages (SMS) or to query via a client application installed on the cell phone 20 or use the web site. After receiving the query, the main server 14 processes it to understand the content at step (B2), and prepares the appropriate answer at step (B3). Depending on the query method or medium, the main server 14 decides with which of the following methods to transfer the answer in step (B4). The main server 14 can send the answer to the end user as a short text message (SMS) at step (B5). Alternately, the main server 14 can send the answer to the end user as a web page at step (B6). The main server 14 can also send the answer to the end user as a screen to be displayed on the cell phone application at step (B7).
  • [0049]
    FIG. 5 illustrates a control condition dissemination process flow in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. By using the dry contact outputs on main gateway device 24 or the sensor nodes S1-S16, climate control systems operated with electricity, e.g., those having motors such as misting, vents, heating, and curtains can be controlled. For automatic control, various control conditions can be defined in the system. Climate control systems are activated or deactivated as a result of comparison of control conditions against the measurements taken by the sensors local to the related device or attached to other sensor nodes S1-S16 in the network. Control conditions can be evaluated according to the following parameters:
  • [0050]
    (K1) Sensor Type (e.g., temperature, humidity, light): Defines against which sensor readings the control conditions will be compared.
  • [0051]
    (K2) Minimum Condition (Set) Value: Defines below what value the control will be activated (start) (K4b) or deactivated (stop) (K4a).
  • [0052]
    (K3) Maximum Condition (Set) Value: Defines above what value the control will be activated (start) (K4a) or deactivated (stop) (K4b)
  • [0053]
    (K4) Start Condition: (a) When the measurement is above the maximum condition value, the control is activated (started). When it falls below the minimum condition value, the control is deactivated (stopped). (b) When the measurement is below the minimum condition value, the control is activated (started). When it goes above the max condition value, the control is deactivated (stopped).
  • [0054]
    (K5) Work Duration: Dry contact stays active (i.e., on or working) for this duration. If zero (0), it stays active as long as the control condition is set.
  • [0055]
    (K6) Stall Duration: After working for work duration, dry contact stalls (i.e., off or not working) for stall duration. If zero (0), dry contact only works (i.e., stays active or on) for work duration (K5) and then becomes inactive even if the control condition is set.
  • [0056]
    (K7) Action Type: Defines what type of action to be taken if the control condition is set. (a) Control dry contact output; (b) Notify another sensor node.
  • [0057]
    (K8) Dry Contact No: For (K7a) case, defines which dry contact output to be controlled.
  • [0058]
    (K9) Node Address/Number to Be Notified: For (K7b) case, defines which sensor node to be notified if the control condition is set.
  • [0059]
    (K10) Synchronization Status: Indicates whether the control system will be controlled in synchronization with events and/or measurements from other sensor nodes.
  • [0060]
    (K11) Synchronization No: If synchronization is used (K10), related sensor nodes use the common synchronization no.
  • [0061]
    Based on the parameters described above, the control condition is entered through the web page or cell phone 20 at step (C1) shown in FIG. 5. The main server 14 prepares these parameters to be transferred to the wireless sensor network 12 at step (C2). Prepared data is transferred from main server 14 to the main gateway device 24 through cellular network or wireless wideband network 16 and Internet 22 at step (C3). The main gateway device 24 sends control conditions to the sensor nodes through dissemination at step (C4). If the receiving nodes realize the condition is addressed for themselves, they store the condition in their internal memories and start checking them at step (C5). Related node transfers the acknowledgement (ACK) message to the main server 14 via main gateway device 24 to indicate successful reception at steps (C6, C7). If the main server 14 receives the acknowledgement message, it completes the operation. Otherwise, it assumes that the control condition has not reached to the node and retransmits it to the network 12 at step (C8).
  • [0062]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a control mechanism execution process flow in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
  • [0063]
    The sensor nodes which store control conditions in their internal memory periodically take measurements to evaluate control conditions at step (D1). If a taken measurement satisfies (sets) control condition at step (D2, D3), the action to be taken is checked at step (D9). If a sensor node is to be notified, a notification is sent to the related node to tell the condition is set at step (D10). If an internal dry contact output of the sensor node is to be controlled then the related output is activated and this way the connected control system is started at step (D11). If the control condition is not set in step D3, whether the control condition is active at that moment is checked at step (D4). If active, whether the measurement is below the min condition value or above the max condition value is checked at step (D5). If (K4a) is entered in the control condition and the measurement is below min condition value or if (K4b) is selected and the measurement is above the max condition value process flow goes to step at step (D6—check action to be taken). Depending on the action to be taken at step (D6), either the sensor node entered in K9 is notified at step (D7) or the dry contact output entered in K8 is deactivated/cleared at step (D8).
  • [0064]
    It is to be understood that although the invention has been described above in terms of particular embodiments, the foregoing embodiments are provided as illustrative only, and do not limit or define the scope of the invention. Various other embodiments, including but not limited to the following, are also within the scope of the claims. For example, elements and components described herein may be further divided into additional components or joined together to form fewer components for performing the same functions.
  • [0065]
    Method claims set forth below having steps that are numbered or designated by letters should not be considered to be necessarily limited to the particular order in which the steps are recited.

Claims (17)

  1. 1. A remote wireless climate monitoring and control system for a greenhouse, comprising:
    a wireless sensor network comprising a plurality of sensor nodes for monitoring climate conditions in the greenhouse and controlling one or more climate control systems; and
    a server computer system located remotely from the greenhouse, said server computer system coupled to the wireless sensor network over a communications network for receiving data from and controlling operation of the sensor nodes, said server computer system also coupled to a device operated by an end-user over a communications network for transmitting the data to and receiving remote control commands or queries from the end-user.
  2. 2. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the wireless sensor network further comprises a base station for transferring data between the plurality of sensor nodes and the server computer system.
  3. 3. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 2, wherein said base station disseminates control commands from the server computer system to the sensor nodes.
  4. 4. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the server computer system communicates with the wireless sensor network through the Internet or a cellular network.
  5. 5. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the server computer system transmits measurements from sensor networks to end users via the Internet or a cellular network.
  6. 6. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the server computer system responds to queries from the end-user with short text messages (SMS), web pages, or screens to be displayed on a cell phone application.
  7. 7. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the climate control systems comprise vents, fans, heating units, heat curtains, shade curtains, misting units, or cooling pads.
  8. 8. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the sensor nodes form an ad-hoc dynamic wireless sensor network, and wherein each sensor node sends collected climate measurements to a base communication node by relaying data through a neighbor sensor node, and wherein the sensor node identifies the neighbor sensor node by determining which node can be used to establish the highest quality data transfer link.
  9. 9. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 8, wherein the neighbor sensor node having the best quality link comprises a parent node that is used as a bridge for sending data to the base communication node.
  10. 10. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the sensor nodes take measurements of environmental climate parameters including temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions at given periods, and compare the measurements against control conditions received by the sensor nodes and stored in an internal memory.
  11. 11. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, wherein the communications network for transferring data between the wireless sensor network and the server computer system comprises a GPRS network, an Edge network, a 3G network, a UMTS network, a cellular network, a wireless broadband data communication service, or WiMAX.
  12. 12. The remote wireless climate monitoring and control system of claim 1, further comprises a web based application or a cell phone application for providing an interface for monitoring data from the wireless sensor network and transmitting commands to the central computer server.
  13. 13. A method of monitoring and controlling climate conditions in a greenhouse, comprising:
    communicating with a wireless sensor network installed in the greenhouse over a communications network, said wireless sensor network comprising a plurality of sensor nodes for monitoring climate conditions in the greenhouse and controlling one or more climate control systems, wherein communicating with the wireless sensor network comprises receiving data from and controlling operation of the sensor nodes; and
    communicating with a device operated by an end-user over a communications network for transmitting the data to and receiving remote control commands or queries from the end-user.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13, wherein communicating with the wireless sensor network comprises communicating via the Internet or a cellular network.
  15. 15. The method of claim 13, wherein the server computer system wherein communicating with the device comprises communicating via the Internet or a cellular network.
  16. 16. The method of claim 13, further comprising responding to queries from the end-user with short text messages (SMS), web pages, or screens to be displayed on a cell phone application.
  17. 17. The method of claim 13, wherein communicating with the wireless sensor network comprises communicating using a GPRS network, an Edge network, a 3G network, a UMTS network, a cellular network, a wireless broadband data communication service, or WiMAX.
US12537772 2008-08-12 2009-08-07 Method and system for remote wireless monitoring and control of climate in greenhouses Abandoned US20100038440A1 (en)

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US12849488 US8649907B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2010-08-03 Method and system for irrigation control
US13844248 US8849461B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2013-03-15 Methods and systems for irrigation control
US14466469 US9241451B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2014-08-22 Methods and systems for irrigation control
US14970349 US20160135389A1 (en) 2008-08-12 2015-12-15 Methods and systems for irrigation control

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US12849488 Active 2030-01-24 US8649907B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2010-08-03 Method and system for irrigation control
US13844248 Active 2029-08-14 US8849461B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2013-03-15 Methods and systems for irrigation control
US14466469 Active US9241451B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2014-08-22 Methods and systems for irrigation control
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US14466469 Active US9241451B2 (en) 2008-08-12 2014-08-22 Methods and systems for irrigation control
US14970349 Pending US20160135389A1 (en) 2008-08-12 2015-12-15 Methods and systems for irrigation control

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