Mel’s Picks April 2008

Vibration Application Notes 1. Vibration Application Notes
Brüel & Kjaer Vibro has been in the condition monitoring business for a long time. As a result, the company has amassed a large collection of application notes covering condition monitoring for everything from misbehaving compressors in petrochemical plants to detecting faulty rolling element bearings. If you're curious or would like to see how other entities figured out how to solve their problems, you may want to take a detour through the extensive application notes and case histories available on the site.

Control Tutorials for Matlab 2. Control Tutorials for Matlab
The University of Michigan maintains a collection of tutorials for Matlab on its Web site. If your Matlab skills are rusty or you're trying to learn how to simulate various control systems using Matlab, you should definitely take a look at the Control Tutorials for Matlab (CTM) site. The tutorials are very detailed, and they explain the mathematical underpinnings of the various concepts and how to implement the desired behavior in Matlab.

The Past in Photos 3. The Past in Photos
It can be very, very easy to forget just how much our daily lives differ from those of our grandparents and great-grandparents, and just how hard their lives could be. To glimpse how we used to live, may I recommend a visit to Shorpy?. This site gathers together old photographs—some from as far back as the 1860s and others as recent as the 1960s—from a variety of sources. Some photographs were used to document child labor, others to document the squalid living conditions of the rural and urban poor. Interspersed are pictures of the middle-class and well-to-do at home and at play, people in factories, even sports figures. It's a fascinating hodgepodge. I recommend setting aside a chunk of time to explore the site, because it's easy to spend an hour or more there.

New to Bookshelves

Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks: Technologies, Analysis and DesignWireless Sensor and Actuator Networks: Technologies, Analysis and Design

Authors: Roberto Verdone, Davide Dardari, Gianluca Mazzini, and Andrea Conti
Publisher: Academic Press, an imprint of Elsevier
ISBN: 978-0-12-372539-4
Page count: 362

Wireless sensor networks are an area of vigorous research activity, at least in part because of their utility in real-world applications. This hardcover book covers the wireless networking and design issues of wireless sensor and actuator networks (WSANs), along with their applications. It also includes some general design rules, and, as the authors say, "a common set of model assumptions that are real-world-proof." (I was tickled by the sentence that comes after this: "Some myths will be destroyed.")

The book is divided into three parts: Fundamentals of WSANs Design; Communication protocols, localization and signal processing techniques for WSANs; and From theory to practice: case studies.

The introduction discusses the main features and issues of WSANs while the chapters in Part 1 deal with applications, channel modeling, connectivity, coverage, network lifetime, and the various technologies used. Part 2 covers communication protocols, localization and time synchronization techniques, and signal processing and data fusion. Part 3 contains case studies.

There are many graphs and diagrams to help illustrate the concepts discussed in the text. The bibliography at the end of the book is extensive and there's even a list of suggested further reading! If you're interested in how to make real-world WSANs work, then I'd suggest reading this book.