pH Wireless Sensor Network for the meat tenderizing process
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The wireless sensor network is a paradigm shift from the conventional wired system and has made remarkable progress in the last ten years. The system is cost effective, efficient, and user friendly as there is no need for external cables to interconnect devices. There are significant opportunities widely available to assess existing wired systems, and with thorough feasibility studies, most of these could be easily converted into wireless systems. A conceptual pH Wireless Sensor Network based on decentralized architectural paradigm is proposed in this thesis to introduce wireless connectivity and enhance system characteristics of a wired meat tenderising system. The network consists of pH Sensor Nodes and Stimuli Actuator Nodes. The focus of this thesis is the architectural design of these nodes and development of prototypes. Carcass pH is determined non-intrusively using a proprietary pH analysis alogrithm and process. This method enables pH analysis of carcasses in a meat plant without stopping the conveyor. The basis of the design is distributed processing and the collaborative nature of a Wireless Sensor Network. This showed that a network of sensor/actuator nodes could replace the existing wired meat tenderizing system and effectively handle the meat tenderizing process. The key benefit anticipated from the proposed wireless network node architecture in this thesis, is an intelligent re-configurable system that is compact, modular, cheaper and easier to install. The need for precise and consistent results creates an opportunity for further improvements to signature (spectrum of carcass response to stimuli) sensing and signature analysis algorithm. There is also scope for adding intelligence to the actuator nodes to aid in developing a fault tolerant system with a failsafe mode. While this project is a miniaturised version of real time process control, future studies could target replacement of wired industrial process control entirely with wireless sensor networks. The objectives of the project were met following the set up of the ZigBig network to simulate meat tenderizing process control, and design of the sensor node and actuator node architecture. A set of standard tools were also determined as part of the project, and are readily available in the market. The major achievement of the project was the development of sensor node and actuator node prototypes, consistent with the expectations of the sponsors and handed over to Merit of Measurement, Auckland.