A team of researchers at Sweden’s Luleå University of Technology have been inspired by the nervous system of fruit flies to develop advanced wireless sensors.
The university researchers have begun work on a four year research project to develop sensors that can be used in the monitoring of machines, in medical applications, in monitoring of plantations as well as in railway and roadway navigation and monitoring.
A researcher from the EISLAB department at the university, Fredrik Sandin explained that the impact on society made by the advancement can be compared to the revolution that the Internet has created in people’s lives. The advanced wireless sensor networks feature microcomputers, sensors and wireless communication which enable the collation of information that can revolutionize our everyday lives and the industry. The wireless sensors will be capable of performing the task of analyzing and encoding information with low energy consumption, similar to fruit flies. Sandin compares the microprocessors to the biological nervous system of the flies.
For large-scale systems, sensor units are required to analyze large amounts of data without consuming too much power. Since a central computer performs the task of data analysis, the goal of the project is to develop a “neuromorfic” chip that can encode and process the signals efficiently.
A neuromorfic chip consumes just a few microwatts and can perform the task using existing technology in a power saving mode.