Smart distributed sensor technology for monitoring microclimate and drought stress in agriculture. Photo: IMMS.
Smart distributed sensor technology for monitoring microclimate and drought stress in agriculture. Photo: IMMS.

Smart distributed measurement and test systems

Integrated sensor ICs represent the heart of sensor and measurement systems. These can be wireless sensors, handheld diagnostic devices or high-performance stationary device solutions for machine monitoring, for example.

  • For increasingly performant sensors, we are working on the following research questions:

    Increasingly performant sensors and their rapidly expanding number lead to immense amounts of data, which are ever more pushing previous technologies to their limits when it comes to transmitting, processing and using them. Therefore, it will be necessary to design systems for sensing, measuring and testing in such a way that they can validate, process and evaluate data automatically in the future. We intend to achieve this by directly incorporating intelligence into the devices. Interconnecting these systems creates the possibility of distributing the tasks in the network. However, new challenges arise in the form of dynamic aspects due to network protocols and changing tasks over time.

    In this research field, we therefore focus on three questions: How can sensor data be automatically processed into usable information as close as possible to the point of origin in a fast, cost-effective and energy-efficient way? What additional information can be obtained with the help of distributed sensor systems? How can such a system be modelled based on different subsystems in order to evaluate energy requirements, the optimal distribution of functionalities in the network and the influence of topology decisions?

  • With our solutions we address the following applications:

    To address our research questions, we work on the one hand on the analysis of distributed IoT systems in order to implement energy- and resource-optimised embedded systems, for example for the “Internet of things” (IoT) or autonomous sensor networks for environmental monitoring or smart city applications. On the other hand, we conduct research on embedded artificial intelligence (AI) in order to be able to efficiently implement AI algorithms on highly resource-constrained systems, e.g. for automation technology and Industry 4.0.

    In the field of real-time data processing and communications, we optimise embedded systems for signal processing and data transmission in real time so that, for example, connected, spatially distributed edge AI systems can communicate smoothly. In addition, we develop concepts and implementation architectures for modular and mobile test systems. With these modular hardware-software platforms, integrated circuits and embedded systems for various applications can be tested and characterised extensively, yet quickly and flexibly.