Project Objectives

Wireless sensor nodes (the so called ”Smart Dust”) are autonomous devices incorporating sensing, power, computation, and communication into one system. A few market applications have already been developed by vendors such as Dust, Inc., Crossbow Technology, Dust Networks and Sensicast in the form of motes which range in size from that of a short stack of euro coin to the size of a deck of cards. The motes usually incorporate basic environmental sensors like position, temperature, pressure, humidity, light, sound, acceleration and magnetic fields.

Low Power consumption and a way to "scavenge" energy (through low cost solar cells) is mandatory to make smart-dust devices run longer, since it would be costly, inconvenient, ot impossible to retrieve a mote in order to replace its batteries.

The objective of the project is to pack together scientists from top level institutions and train young researchers to the twofold task of developing self heated NW based chemical sensors and Quantum Dots Solar Cells and integrate the latter for powering the first in motes. Meanwhile in order to assess the technology, nanostructured thin film MOX sensors of conductometric and TFT type will be developed and used as benchmark for the novel MOX nanowires gas sensors.

Primary application will be Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB), which are already some of the largest and most prevalent deployments of “sensor networks” in the world, although they are not typically recognized as such. Wireless gas sensing of air quality could strongly increase the performance of HVAC systems (among NMP 2012 topics). Therefore target gas species will be chosen among detectable air quality constituents.

WIROX was formulated with a strong focus on strengthening research partnerships through short period staff exchanges and networking activities between four European research organisations from four countries (two from the central and two from the south) and three prominent Institutions/organisations from three “third countries” located in different continents with which the EU has an S&T agreement. A balance is kept between training activities and secondment, and, state of the art research initiatives. The aim of the WIROX project is aiming to jointly carry out scientific training of researchers for boosting the S&T research potential between EU and “Third country partners”.

Furthermore, WIROX aims to create synergies in the field of fundamental and applied science in order to assist the work and the mobility of students (doctorates and post-doctorates) and researchers among the Academic and Research Institutes and establishments from the involved countries in the three continents. This is essential for the development of sustainable conducts and scientific collaborations in this emerging field.

All the involved institutions are working at the forefront of the field of Nanomaterials. The competence and expertise of the labs are complementary in terms of materials synthesis and characterization, making this collaboration a real opportunity to create a joint project leading to exciting results in the field of nanotechnology. In this respect the exchange of researchers is planned to be the first step towards setting up long term collaboration between the involved labs. In fact, the work plan of the project is specifically designed for this purpose. The schedule of activities is based on milestones to be carried out by all the partners, all being necessary to achieve the proposed objectives. Intense synergistic activity is planned in the framework of the exchange programme, and not after the end of the outgoing phase, giving the researchers the possibility of having a fourth year, which is really based on the continuation of the activities so as to capitalize on the results obtained in the first three years.

The European industry is currently under significant competitive pressures from developed and low-wage economies, which makes it inevitable to keep abreast with the trends of scientific and industrial research in other continents. International cooperation, as conceptualized in WIROX, with industrialised nations like Canada and Australia will establish new ties in the field of sensor technology, which had wide-reaching implications in different sectors (e.g., security, energy efficiency, environmental monitoring, etc.) of a modern society. This partnership can enable the development of new products and transfer of technology to new markets. The participation of emerging economies like South Africa will allow the EU partners to understand their national priorities, current trends and future requirements. An active cooperation in the field of science and technology will lead to capacity building for skilled occupations, which can leverage the efforts of the European Commission to attain a globally competitive position for European R & D.