On Tuesday, August 13th, the French-based global communications service and network connectivity provider, Sigfox, went live in Chicago. The University of Chicago is one of many local Sigfox partners, and has recently announced the installation of the network, Thoreau, which will soon be fully live on campus. IME Professors, Monisha Ghosh and Supratik Guha, are excited about the vast opportunities that Thoreau will not only provide for their own research interests, but also for the many different types of sensors utilized in society today, such as in smart home devices and transportation services.
"What we are trying to do is set up a scalable, plug-and-play sensor network that collects and curates time and geotagged data on the Cloud. Building this open platform network in the neutral territory of a university will enable its use as a sandbox for research and benchmarking of sensors, hardware, and data science. Our own interests are in sensor networks for water and agriculture, but the network that we are setting up should be usable for all kinds of sensors," said Guha.
By utilizing the network in various environments on campus, such as underwater or underground, they will be able to test a variety of sensors to examine their future viability and application in water and agriculture research.
The network is nicknamed after the American naturalist and writer Henry David Thoreau. "He was among the first to recognize the importance of measurement and the name is inspired by the detailed ecological data that Thoreau collected over decades in the region around Concord, MA in the mid-nineteenth century," said Ghosh.