A user-friendly programming framework for wireless sensor networks
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Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are increasingly being used for monitoring physical environments in lieu of tethered monitoring systems. Being power efficient and wirelessly accessible, WSNs find applications in a variety of domains like health, structural and climate monitoring systems. Despite such diverse use cases, more than often, WSNs are used by researchers with basic or no prior programming experience. Consequently, more time is spent learning to program the sensors than collecting and analysing domain-specific data. To cater to this generic user base, a multi-platform user-friendly programming framework for WSNs has been developed. This framework provides: 1) a visual network comparison tool that analyzes packet traces of two networks to generate a juxtaposed visual comparison of contrasting network characteristics, 2) a scripting language based on the TinyOS sensor network platform that aims at reducing code size and improving programming efficacy, and 3) a visual programming tool with basic sensor drag-and-drop modules for generating simple WSN programs. These tools were also developed to serve as a gentle introduction to the WSN programming environment for middle and high school students. In the absence of resources (sensors), the framework also allows programmers to verify program functionality by remotely simulating and verifying program behaviour in the OMNeT simulation environment.