Project Description: STEX is a project focused on the development of wearable sensors for real-time monitoring of physical activity. The main aim of STEX is monitoring high-performance muscle activity in cycling and running training, using non-invasive and non-obtrusive sensors coupled with internet-of-things type connectivity for data acquisition, processing, and storing. The project´s objectives are based on the development and employment of sensors capable of perceiving different parameters of the muscle activity and that can be correlated with the exercise intensity: the respiratory rate, detected by wearable strain sensors or equivalent technique, and the sweat ammonia, measured by using both polymeric electro-chemical biosensors, gas sensors, and optical-based methods. The project is also aiming at comparatively analyzing the performance and the reliability achieved using the different approaches.
The activities that the Sensing Technologies Laboratories is carrying out within the STEX project are mainly related to the design of printed wearable sensors able to monitor the respiratory rate, and electro-chemical and gas sensors for the ammonia detection in both gas and liquid phase.
Project Description: In recent years, the field of electronics has experienced extraordinary advances, resulting in a revolution, where complimentary to mainstream inorganic semiconductors (like Silicon and III-V compounds) on traditional wafers, completely new materials are paving the way to light-weight, flexible, transparent, stretchable, and even bio-degradable devices. The possibility to realize electronics on such disruptive substrates has pioneered novel applications, such as wearable and textile integrated systems for mobile healthcare, sport and well-being. Furthermore, the wide applicability of this kind of pervasive and versatile electronics for Internet of Things (IoT) technology calls for unobtrusive integration of these devices on everyday objects. The exponential growth of this market however opens unprecedent challenges related to the management of energy consumption and environmental impact of these components. Each device must be fabricated with energy efficient and non-polluting methods and must be recyclable. In this context, the EYRE project aims at using sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and processes for the production of electronic devices, in order to reduce pollution and accumulation of solid waste and at the same time reduce the manufacturing cost. In particular, EYRE aims at demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing cost-effective, flexible and transient electronic devices on paper using environmentally-friendly fabrication techniques. At this aim, paper will be employed as a cheap, non-toxic and bio-degradable substrate to realize thin-film transistors and circuits based on carbon-based semiconductors and metallic layers. To realize these devices, the EYRE project will utilize a set of different printing methods, such as screen printing, dispense printing, aerosol jet printing, and spray deposition, which exhibit a lower energy footprint compared to standard vacuum-based technologies.
Project Description: The reliable and real-time assessment of fruit quality and ripeness from the field to the table through harvesting, handling and transport is extremely important in order to meet production and consumer demands, and at the same time drastically reduce food waste. To reach these objectives, there is an urgent need for fast, reliable, cost-effective and portable non-destructive techniques allowing a real-time quantitative-based high-throughput decision making process. Among non-destructive techniques, electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) has proven to be a particularly suitable method, allowing a link between the measured bio-impedance and the fruit physio-chemical changes. Nevertheless, the use of bio-impedance analysis for fruit quality control is currently severely limited by the lack of a precise prediction method enabling a direct relationship between fruit quality and ripeness and bio-impedance response. In this context, the interdisciplinary and interfaculty project BIOFRUIT at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano proposes to combine expertise in electronics and sensor systems from the Faculty of Science and Technology with expertise in statistical modeling for multivariate data analysis from the Faculty of Economics and Management, with the aim to develop a solid methodology able to support the whole agri-food sector throughout the entire production chain and fruit market. First of all, BIOFRUIT aims at developing and applying innovative statistical methods suitable for analyzing the complex and high-dimensional impedance data and thereby useful to provide a reliable prediction of fruit quality and ripeness. A further goal of the project is the development of a change-point detection method based on clustering algorithms in order to identify the optimized frequency range required to precisely assess quality and ripeness using both bench-top and portable impedance analyzers. Thanks to the combination of a large dataset of bio-impedance of fruits collected through a well-defined design of experiment and the above mentioned ad-hoc optimized models, BIOFRUIT will enable a significant hardware and software optimization of an already-developed hand-held and low-cost bio-impedance analyzer and therefore a ubiquitous application of the system in an on-field and post-harvest context. The outcomes of the project BIOFRUIT are expected to contribute not only to the scientific communities of statistical multivariate modelling and bio-impedance analysis, but also in the agri-food industry. Furthermore, the project will also have a significant positive impact locally, as the final optimized portable system will be applied to realize a real-time system for harvest time decision and fruit monitoring in the main cultivation in the area, the apple. A dramatic reduction of a vast amount of food waste and a consequent non-negligible monetary saving by local producing companies is thereby foreseen thanks to BIOFRUIT.
Project Description: The project aims to respond to the lack of schools in science and technology education by developing and testing didactic materials and vertical paths about complex phenomena, employing the newest and more advanced devices in the field of printed electronics. It involves the didactic and pedagogic competences of Federico Corni of the Faculty of Education and the scientific and technological competences of Paolo Lugli of the Faculty of Science and Technology at UNIBZ. The underlying pedagogical idea is the introduction of complexity and system thinking into school from the very beginning, from kindergarten to lower secondary school, using a narrative approach supported by an innovative technological platform. Due to the wide range of age (3 to 14 years old), in which pupils undergo strong and important changes in their way of feeling and thinking, the project will differentiate materials and paths according to the pupils’ levels of understanding. Starting from the idea that direct physical and linguistic experience is the way young pupils discover the world, we envisage the possibility that technologies can be used directly by pupils, who will build their own playing (and therefore learning) platform and experience the world of complexity via the interaction of their body with the electronic elements that they have created and assembled.The project will last three years and will result in the production of some prototype for novel validated didactic technological suitcases, on the model of the Max’s Worlds of MultiLab in Bressanone, with self-explanatory teacher guides and instructions, produced in Italian and German languages. These materials will be made available to teachers and to schools, as well as to courses and laboratories of the Mater Degree in Primary Education and possible Masters for secondary school teachers.
Project Description:In the modern era, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things have enabled us to develop smart edge devices that can sense, think, and communicate. These devices are based on Von Neumann's architecture which greatly contributed to the advancement of computing technologies. In spite of this, one of the drawbacks of Von Neumann's architecture is that the continuous transfer of data between memory and processors requires a considerable amount of processing time and power, and thereby represents a bottleneck in the process. Therefore, this project has as its objective to develop a novel architecture allowing the development of the new concept of "in-memory sensing" with the capability of sensing, computing, and memorizing data in the edge. As a proof of concept, prostate cancer markers will be selected as the target analyte for the in-memory sensor.