A vital factor for a successful deployment of sensor nodes is testing of all system aspects in a realistic setup. FlockLab introduces a testbed architecture which allows for detailed monitoring and stimulation of wireless sensor nodes. In particular, time-accurate state extraction and power measurements are provided in a distributed, yet synchronized context.
For general embedded systems, testing the software and the system’s power consumption relies on expensive lab instruments such as logic analyzers and oscilloscopes. FlockLab brings the functionalities of these tools into a distributed context for detailed testing of a sensor network. This is achieved by pairing a sensor node with dedicated hardware for monitoring and stimulation. Different services such as measuring power consumption and time accurate pin tracing and actuation are provided to the tester. While maintaining a sufficient accuracy of measurements (e.g., tens of microseconds temporal granularity across nodes), costs are significantly reduced to enable an affordable distributed lab instrument. Hence, in difference to previous testbeds, which only allowed for detailed measurements on individual nodes, numerous nodes can be observed in detail.
Unlike most testbeds which allow only for one type of wireless sensor node to be connected, FlockLabs flexible hardware interface offers 4 target adapter slots to which arbitrary sensor nodes can be attached. Currently, following sensor node platforms are supported: Tmote Sky, OpenMote, TinyNode, DPP and DPP2 LoRa.
FlockLab's key features include:
FlockLab's observer based testbed architecture which provides services for detailed testing of sensor nodes:
Time accurate pin tracing
Time accurate pin actuation
Serial interface logging and writing
Voltage control to simulate e.g. battery depletion
Flexibility to attach up to 4 arbitrary wireless sensor nodes over a generic hardware interface.
Network-wide programming and configuration of testbed and sensor nodes.
The testbed architecture seamlessly merges data from all services into a consistent global view:
All services have a common, high-precision time base
Data taken from all sensor nodes is directly comparable due to common time base between nodes
All test data is kept in a single database
High-speed, flexible and reliable backbone for out-of-band extraction of data.
Testbed consisting of 30 observers organized in a mixed indoor/outdoor topology.
Excellent scalability and flexibility due to FlockLab's 3-tier-architecture.
FlockLab is available for the research and development community. We are happy to provide you with software and hardware designs if you are interested in replicating FlockLab. See About us/Contact for more information.