Project Description: The last years have seen a surge in the research and development of solutions for the so-called “internet of things”. Interconnected devices are redefining the paradigms of interaction between human beings and their bodies, the object they own and the space they belong to. The human body, traditional objects and the space, however, are not inherently interconnected and necessitate of an “extension”, in order to enhance their functionalities. Since such extensions have a meaning and a function only when attached to the object they need to enhance, they can also be defined “parasites”. The evolution of parasites towards a different class of technology-enabled objects – or smart parasites – is inevitable, but carries a series of criticalities, which have not been entirely addressed so far by the scientific community. One of the most significant is related to the sustainability of the production of an exponentially increasing number of devices: most of the materials employed in the fabrication of the objects are not environmental-friendly and the fabrication of the electronic components is very energy and cost intensive.
The main aim of SSP is the definition of new methods and tools for the design and the production of smart parasites that are environmentally-friendly, energy conscious, with low carbon footprint and cheap to produce. To pursue this goal, we propose to exploit the recent advances in printed electronics and additive manufacturing, in order to obtain arbitrarily shaped devices with enhanced electronic functions. By employing a design driven approach, with a strong synergy between design and technology experts, we propose three ambitious goals. First, we aim at obtaining prototypes of sustainable smart parasites in each of three categories, namely human body parasite, object parasite and space parasite. Secondly, the expertise and know-how gained through the project will be used for the creation of novel tools and equipment for the environmentally friendly fabrication of smart parasites. Finally, the research on structural and functional materials will lead to the definition of an extensive database of materials, where the aesthetic and functional properties of the materials are classified and well described.
Project Description: The aim of the project is to create a laboratory focused on the production and characterization of physical, chemical and biological sensors for environmental monitoring. The lab is divided into three different functional areas: one for the production of sensors, one for the synthesis and deposition of nanomaterials and one for the assembly of sensors in more complex electronic modules. The structures created in this way can be used for fundamental research in the field of nanomaterials and at the same time for the actual production of sensors that can be used directly in precision agriculture and in the monitoring of health processes as well as production processes.