Go-with-the-flow swarm sensing in inaccessible viscous media

Erik H. A. Duisterwinkel, Gijs Dubbelman, Elena Talnishnikh, Jan W. M. Bergmans, Heinrich J. Wörtche, Jean-Paul Linnartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper extends the 'go-with-the-flow' method to explore enclosed environments, like oil reservoirs, pipe lines that transport liquids, and industrial tanks for processing chemicals, where sensing nodes cannot establish communication with the external world. Nonetheless, large quantities of highly miniaturized, thus power-constrained sensor nodes are injected into these environment and flow through them along with the medium, monitoring their environment but also reconstructing their time-varying position from mutual communication, but without any communication to external base stations or beacons. The relative trajectories of nodes yield essential insights of the fluid flow in the otherwise inaccessible environment. We present a functional implementation of a ranging protocol accommodating size and energy constraints. Our simulation chain models node movement from different types of flow dynamics. It comprehensively assesses not only the performance of the communication and ranging protocols, but also of the reconstruction algorithm. Our assessments cover a wide range of different environments and flow profiles, including highly dynamic ones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4442-4452
JournalIEEE sensors journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


  • wireless sensor networks
  • distance measurement


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