Drives and Controls Magazine
German project develops autonomous ‘free form’ sensors
Published:  25 February, 2019

A consortium of German organisations has completed a 3½-year project to develop compact, intelligent, autonomous, wireless sensors that can be adapted into any shape or form factor. The Freiform (free form) project covered all aspects of sensor design – for example, signal processing, wireless data transmission, power supplies and location awareness ­– and included an investigations into mechanical, electrical and software design.

The project was led by Schaeffler, and included nanotron, Fraunhofer IZM, Lust and microTec as members. Its completion was marked by the demonstration of several prototype sensors at an event in January.

One of the demonstrations showed a “swarm” technology that uses sensors and smart RF (radio frequency) modules to track and provide collision awareness in transport systems. It can span distances of up to 500m with a location accuracy of 10cm. An energy-efficient design extends the battery lives of the mobile devices.