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Research line Distributed Sensor Systems

New electronic products and services are charactrized by networked nodes, integrated with methods for knowledge generation. As a result, we see a trend towards Cyber Physical Systems and a new role for Sensor Technology. This is the technology drive under trends like Industry 4.01).

Cyber Physical Systems and the Internet of Things

The Sensor Technology course explains two insights that are important to understand where future technical systems are going to:

  • A historical and technical overview of basic unifications in the field of system-thinking is explained on the page on Systems Theory
  • Sensor Systems are aiming at upgrading data towards valuable information, ready to be shared and combined with other data.

This system thinking results into two concepts, being Cyber Physical Systems CPS2)3) and the Internet of Things IoT4).

Sensor Technology

A sensor is no longer a single transducer, but part of a distributed system:

  • Sensors are part of autonomous small units (Internet of Things) which on their turn are part of a larger sensor network (Cyber Physical System) like a car, body area network or home
  • Sensors have a digital interface with a bus system and diagnostic features like auto-calibration, safety indicators and unique ID’s (Smart Sensor)
  • Information from sensor readings is combined to estimate knowledge that could never be measured using a single sensor (polygraphy, multi-sensor technology to interface to big-data)

Research line and the focus areas

From the function perspective, the basic idea of the research line is to come from raw data towards higher value knowledge. This is explained on the page on Sensor/Actuator systems, especially in the paragraph “From measured quantities to knowledge”.

From the architectural perspective, the research line focuses on several aspects of an IoT node as shown in figure 1.

Fig. 1: An autonomous smart node with the design challenges

This results into the following research focus areas:

  1. Material processing for the integration of new sensor forms
  2. Sensor interfacing and conversion to information
  3. Signalprocessing and parameter estimation
  4. EM fields for power conversion and sensor principles
  5. Designing with SoC, Soft- and hard-core processor Design
  6. Model based system engineering, Model-Driven development
  7. Wireless Sensor- Actuators networks and protocols
  8. Distributed control and monitoring
  9. Real-time aspect and multi threading
  10. Radio Frequency PCB and antenna design, EMC, thermal consequence
Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2011). Race against the machine. Digital Frontier, Lexington, MA.
Edward A. Lee, Cyber Physical Systems: Design Challenges, University of California, Berkeley, Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2008-8, January 23, 2008,
Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Paris, (Hermann & Cie) & Camb. Mass. (MIT Press), 1948
R. Kranenburg, The Internet of Things. A critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID, Network Notebooks 02, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2007. ISBN: 978-90-78146-06-3, 2007
distributed_sensor_systems.txt · Last modified: 2016/09/28 13:43 by geert