A top concern in homeland security efforts is the lack of ability to monitor the thousands of miles of open border with our neighbors. It is not currently feasible to continually monitor the borders for illegal intrusions. The MicroSensor System (MSS) seeks to achieve a low-cost monitoring solution that can be efficiently deployed for border patrol applications. The modifications and issues regarding the unique requirements of this application will be discussed and presented. The MicroSensor System was developed by the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) for military applications, but border patrol applications, with their unique sensor requirements, demand careful adaptation and modification from the military application. Adaptation of the existing sensor design for border applications has been initiated. Coverage issues, communications needs, and other requirements need to be explored for the border patrol application. Currently, border patrol has a number of deficiencies that can be addressed with a microsensor network. First, a distributed networked sensor field could mitigate the porous border intruder detection problem. Second, a unified database needs to be available to identify aliens attempting to cross into the United States. This database needs to take unique characteristics (e.g. biometrics, fingerprints) recovered from a specialized field unit to reliably identify intruders. Finally, this sensor network needs to provide a communication ability to allow border patrol officers to have quick access to intrusion information as well as equipment tracking and voice communication. MSS already addresses the sensing portion of the solution, including detection of acoustic, infrared, magnetic, and seismic events. MSS also includes a low-power networking protocol to lengthen the battery life. In addition to current military requirements, MSS needs a solar panel solution to extend its battery life to 5 years, and an additional backbone communication link. Expanding the capabilities of MSS will go a long way to improving the security of the nation's porous borders.
The Micro Sensor System (MSS) is a layered sensor network with the goal of detecting dismounted threats approaching high value assets. A low power unattended ground sensor network is dependant on a network protocol for efficiency in order to minimize data transmissions after network establishment. The reduction of network 'chattiness' is a primary driver for minimizing power consumption and is a factor in establishing a low probability of detection and interception. The MSS has developed a unique protocol to meet these challenges. Unattended ground sensor systems are most likely dependant on batteries for power which due to size determines the ability of the sensor to be concealed after placement. To minimize power requirements, overcome size limitations, and maintain a low system cost the MSS utilizes advanced manufacturing processes know as Fluidic Self-Assembly and Chip Scale Packaging. The type of sensing element and the ability to sense various phenomenologies (particularly magnetic) at ranges greater than a few meters limits the effectiveness of a system. The MicroSensor System will overcome these limitations by deploying large numbers of low cost sensors, which is made possible by the advanced manufacturing process used in production of the sensors. The MSS program will provide unprecedented levels of real-time battlefield information which greatly enhances combat situational awareness when integrated with the existing Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) infrastructure. This system will provide an important boost to realizing the information dominant, network-centric objective of Joint Vision 2020.
The MicroSensors Systems (MSS) Program is developing a layered sensor network to detect dismounted threats approaching high value assets. The MSS subsystem elements include sensitive receivers (capable of detecting<<1 Watt emissions in dense signal or degraded signal environments) and low power, miniature, disposable sensors (acoustic, magnetic, and infrared). A novel network protocol has been developed to reduce the network traffic resulting in conservation of system power and lower probability of detection and interception. The MSS program will provide unprecedented levels of real-time battlefield information, greatly enhancing combat situational awareness when integrated with the existing Command, Control, and Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) infrastructure. This system will provide an important boost to realizing the information dominant, network-centric objective of Joint Vision 2020. The program has established two Centers of Excellence for Sensor Technology each of which is capable of designing and building next generation, networked microsensor systems. The Defense Microelectronics Activity has teamed with the Centers of Excellence and industry to preserve long-term Department of Defense access to key next generation manufacturing technologies.