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Low-power Wireless Embedded Systems

These systems are driving the development of a whole range of new applications, products and services. The transformative potential of this technology can be seen in Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, where for economic reasons the large number of objects involved can only be linked to each other wirelessly. To support its work in developing energy-optimising methods and technologies, the InES maintains close contacts with chip manufacturers, who are increasingly combining microcontrollers with wireless systems.

Low-power wireless embedded systems enable many new applications, products and services. Optimization for energy, size and cost makes them particularly suited for applications related to the Internet of Things (IoT). This is achieved by the proper selection and use of key components.

These optimized and interconnected systems detect and react to their surroundings by means of sensors and actuators. Based on an application specific energy budget, cost and size, the needed research activities are carried out. System architectures are designed, developed and subsequently realized in hardware and software. Security and usability are taken into account.

Our Activities

We work with different microcontrollers

We continuously evaluate and work with devices from different manufacturers. This goes from low-end 8-bit to sophisticated parallel architectures. Below are some examples.

We work with different wireless systems

Examples of wireless systems that we currently research, evaluate or use (sometimes in cooperation with other groups):

We work with power management and energy supply components

There are different energy sources:

We evaluate various energy harvesters and other components needed in the energy chain.

Project Examples

Tiny Solar

This sensor uses a small and low cost single solar cell to harvest energy in order to make a measurement and send the results via Bluetooth Smart.

LED as energy harvester

LEDs can be used as a low-cost alternative to solar cells to harvest energy.

Press to measure and display

Energy harvested by a piezo element is used to make a measurement and show the results on an e-ink display.

Using LoRa/LoRaWAN with harvested energy

This module harvests energy indoors or outdoors and uses it to send messages over LoRa, which has a range of several kilometers.

RF harvesting and RFID emulation

This system is powered solely by harvesting energy from RF fields. It sends out measurement values in form of RFID parameters.

Simple and secure pairing for Bluetooth Smart

In order to pair with a tag, the display of a smartphone generates an optical signal, which is received by a sensor on the tag.

Our Offerings

Evaluation of components

The choice of the right components is very important in the design of low-power systems. Therefore, we continuously evaluate key components such as microcontrollers, transceivers, harvesters, power management devices …

In some cases, the results are published. Obviously, our partners have priority and access to more information. Below are links to papers derived from some previous evaluations:

If you want us to evaluate your component or system, make contact with us to discuss the conditions.

Research assistants, BA students, Master students

Bachelor or master students interested in our research themes have the opportunity to work with us to complete one or several of their academic projects.

To give an idea of some possible research subjects see the list below. Students further have the possibility to bring in their own ideas and we encourage them to come up with their own projects.