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RFID and model train
Not just a toy for children, these trains have RFID tags in each carriage that send signals to "reading points." A mesh network based on the ZigBee wireless specification handles communications between the wagons so that the cargo can be monitored. Sensors that monitor the status of the cargo can be embedded on the Zigbee board.
"If you are transporting sensitive materials, you can monitor the temperature," Hasson said. "Some plastics tend to fuse at a certain temperature and cannot be melted again. That can be catastrophic," he added.
Accenture's Robert Hasson"A light sensor can tell you if a door's been opened," which is useful in deterring theft or when handling light-sensitive materials, Hasson said. "You can also have weight sensors to see if the carriage has been unloaded. Once it has, you can bill people earlier, and see an immediate return on cash."
For a chemical company client, Accenture used satellite communications with a network of cars, solar-powered communications devices and temperature probes.
A ZigBee experiment to monitor the health of a vineyard, called Pickberry, combines data from sensors to measure soil moisture (left) and temperature, leaf moisture (center), air temperature and rainfall (right). The leaf moisture sensor mimics drainage patterns by letting water flow through a series of small channels on its face.