Sensor Networks

Wireless sensor networks (WSN), sometimes called wireless sensor and actuator networks (WSAN), are spatially distributed autonomous sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, pressure, etc. and to cooperatively pass their data through the network to a main location.

  • A Sensor System Learns to "Hear": Reliable Detection of Failures in Machines and Systems

    The sensor system inspects the rotating cutting unit of a combine harvester for defective vibrations or noises. Fraunhofer IZFP / Uwe Bellhäuser

    Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP in Saarbrücken have developed a sensor system that can detect failures or imperfections in systems and machines quickly and reliably by means of an acoustic noise assessment similar to human hearing. The "hearing" sensor system AcoustiX has already been successfully deployed by John Deere, the American global market leader in the fields of agricultural engineering, to inspect the cutting units of combine harvesters. In the event that large-scale machines or plants are already in operation, defects or defectively assembled components may result in malfunction of machines and thus in production shutdown and economic loss.

  • Announcement: Free Webcast Today & Tomorrow: Nanosensor Manufacturing Workshop

    NNI Banner Logo. (c) NNI National Nanotechnology Initiative

    The NNI is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative involving 20 departments and independent agencies working together toward the shared vision of "a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society." The NNI brings together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field—creating a framework for shared goals, priorities, and strategies that helps each participating Federal agency leverage the resources of all participating agencies. With the support of the NNI, nanotechnology R&D is taking place in academic, government, and industry laboratories across the United States.

  • Artificial Intelligence: An Expert in Every Burner

    Inspection of a Siemens H Class turbine. Artificial intelligence has contributed significantly to reducing the turbine's emission of nitrogen oxides and other gasses.

    Thanks to neural network-based artificial intelligence (AI) developed by Siemens Corporate Technology (CT), the combustion processes in the company’s flagship gas turbine are being steadily optimized. The processes learn how to continuously adjust fuel valves, resulting in optimized combustion and reduced emissions and wear. Siemens’ Power Generation Services Division is now using the jointly developed technology for the first time in a customer application for the largest and most modern stationary Siemens gas turbine. Given the large number of such complex systems run by Siemens customers whose operations could be improved by AI, the potential for improved efficiency is enormous.

  • CeBIT 2017: Analysis software for neural networks – Watching computers think

    Fraunhofer HHI’s analysis software uses algorithms to visualize complex learning processes (schematic diagram). © Fraunhofer HHI

    Neural networks are commonly used today to analyze complex data – for instance to find clues to illnesses in genetic information. Ultimately, though, no one knows how these networks actually work exactly. That is why Fraunhofer researchers developed software that enables them to look into these black boxes and analyze how they function. The researchers will present their software at CeBIT in Hannover from March 20 to 24, 2017 (Hall 6, Booth B 36).

  • Cebit 2017: The intelligent school book supports pupils using innovative sensor technology

    From left to right: Shoya Ishimaru, Prof. Andreas Dengel, Prof. Jochen Kuhn.  TU KL/DFKI

    Joint press release by University of Kaiserslautern and German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Digital technologies found their way into daily life long ago - including school life. Researchers in Kaiserslautern are exploring how the technologies can be applied usefully in lessons. In the “HyperMind” project, an intelligent school book is being developed for tablet and PC. This uses technology, which will detect the reader’s line of vision, which it will then analyse. This will quickly determine whether the pupil has understood the learning content. The technology aids individual progress. At the Cebit computer trade fair in Hannover, researchers will present their project from 20th to 24th March at the research stand of Federal State Rhineland-Palatinate (hall 6, stand C17).

  • Five developments for improved data exploitation

    Seamless communication from sensor to Internet is a prerequisite for industry 4.0.

    Integrating advanced IT/OT elements throughout the SmartFactoryKL Industrie 4.0 production plant – from the IO module and MQTT to the dashboard. The advanced development of IT/OT* elements makes it easier to access the data of the SmartFactoryKL Industrie 4.0 production plant. Now data can be displayed, integrated, transported, and recorded much more easily. Highlights include an IO module, operational data publication via MQTT, two dashboards, and a web-based product configurator. The Technologie-Initiative SmartFactoryKL and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) will present these developments in cooperation with 18 contributing partner companies at the Hannover Messe on April 24-28, 2017 in Hall 8, Stand D 20.

  • Holographic analysis of Wi-Fi data generates 3D images of the vicinity

    A cross made of aluminum foil between the viewer and the WLAN-router can easily be reconstructed from the WLAN-hologram as can be seen in the inserted picture. Image: Friedemann Reinhard/Philipp Holl / TUM

    Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a holographic imaging process that depicts the radiation of a Wi-Fi transmitter to generate three-dimensional images of the surrounding environment. Industrial facility operators could use this to track objects as they move through the production hall. Just like peering through a window, holograms project a seemingly three-dimensional image. While optical holograms require elaborate laser technology, generating holograms with the microwave radiation of a Wi-Fi transmitter requires merely one fixed and one movable antenna, as Dr. Friedenmann Reinhard and Philipp Holl report in the current issue of the renowned scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

  • Millimeter-Wave Radars for Efficient Industrial Sensors

    The compact w-band radar is about the size of a cigarette box. © Fraunhofer IAF


    See what is hidden from the human eye. Preserve the view when optical sensors fail. Radars make the invisible visible. Based on millimeter waves penetrating plastics, cardboard, wood and textiles, they are able to see what's inside packaging, behind walls or behind smoke and fog. Researchers at Fraunhofer IAF have taken advantage of the unique characteristics of millimeter-waves and have developed a compact W-band radar module that is ideally suited for use in industrial sensors: It screens packaged goods and gives precise information about their contents.

  • Power goes Industry 4.0 - intelligent, connected, and multi-functional

    The concept of Cognitive Power Electronics 4.0 by Fraunhofer IISB. Fraunhofer IISB

    Fraunhofer IISB merges proven power electronic system technologies and smart digital functionalities into “Cognitive Power Electronics 4.0”. The latest innovative developments by the power electronics research institute are presented at PCIM Europe 2017 next week in Nuremberg.

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB in Erlangen offers innovative power electronic solutions that are used in conversion, supply, and storage of electrical energy. Based on years of experience and application in these various fields, Fraunhofer IISB drives power electronics to the next level by merging proven power electronic systems and devices with smart functionalities, enabling the new era of „Cognitive Power Electronics 4.0“.

  • Smart Connections: Intelligent Sensors Monitor and Optimize Industrial Processes 4.0

    The intelligent sensor node-based monitoring and optimization system, for instance, improves combined systems on twin-screw extruders. Photo: Coperion

    Already today modern production systems can communicate with their surroundings and manage themselves. Industry 4.0 is on the rise and cyber-physical systems (CPS) are the essential components of this development. Intelligent sensors for monitoring and controlling production processes ensure that connected work processes can run reliably.

  • Smart Sensors for Efficient Processes

    An engineer performs robotics-supported testing of steel sheets for mechanical properties (residual stresses) using micromagnetic testing (3MA). Fraunhofer IZFP / Uwe Bellhäuser

    Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

  • SoCUS – New Cost-Effective Sensor System to Measure State of Charge

    Sensors with 1 cm and 2 cm diameter to measure the state of charge of the battery. © Photo K. Selsam, Fraunhofer ISC

    Batteries are indispensable for electric vehicles and other mobile devices that require electrical power. Complex battery management systems (BMS) are needed to estimate, for example, the range and durability of the battery. Therefore, they determine the state of charge for each cell on the basis of Current (Coulomb Counting) and Voltage. As BMS calculations are based on default values, they are prone to error. Especially with frequent partial charge and certain battery cell types, no precise measurement of the state of charge is possible. In addition, these systems consume some of the energy themselves.

  • Ultrakompakter Photodetektor

    Ultrakompakter Photodetektor | Ein plasmonischer Detektor, der direkt an einen Silizium-Lichtwellenleiter angekoppelt ist und weniger als ein Mikrometer groß ist, wurde am KIT entwickelt. Grafik: KIT

    Der Datenverkehr wächst weltweit. Glasfaserkabel transportieren die Informationen mit Lichtgeschwindigkeit über weite Entfernungen. An ihrem Ziel müssen die optischen Signale jedoch in elektrische Signale gewandelt werden, um im Computer verarbeitet zu werden. Forscher am KIT haben einen neuartigen Photodetektor entwickelt, dessen geringer Platzbedarf neue Maßstäbe setzt: Das Bauteil weist eine Grundfläche von weniger als einem Millionstel Quadratmillimeter auf, ohne die Datenübertragungsrate zu beeinträchtigen, wie sie im Fachmagazin Optica nun berichten.

  • What Really Happens on the Assembly Line? High-precision Localization Promises More Transparency!

    Mobile transponders to localize tools in industrial settings. © Volker Mai

    A miniature transponder helps localize tools at manual assembly stations. Fraunhofer IZM has developed a specialized transponder in the joint NaLoSysPro project to track and record safety-critical assembly tasks in industry with precise location data. The project was completed in 2018, and the innovative transponder is showcasing the capabilities of Fraunhofer IZM’s Wafer Level System Integration team to the manufacturing community.

  • Wireless sensor systems prevent soap etc. topped up

    Checking dispensers with a tablet computer in a networked washroom. CWS-boco International GmbH

    Washrooms are among the highest-maintenance rooms in companies. A new Fraunhofer technology now monitors soap, cotton towel and toilet paper dispensers fully automatically, and notifies the cleaning staff when levels are running low. At the core of the “CWS Washroom Information Service” are sensors and some ingenious wireless technology. “The cotton towels are running out in washroom 17 on the third floor, in washroom 21 on the fourth floor the soap is almost empty, and in 26 there is almost no toilet paper left.”Armed with this kind of information in advance, cleaning staff will be able to plan their rounds far more effectively in the future. No small thing, given that washrooms are among the highest-maintenance rooms in buildings. As well as having to be cleaned, their soap, hand-towels and toilet paper have to be replenished regularly. The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS has now designed a highly efficient solution to this problem.