Data processing for ultra-low power wireless sensor nodes that explore unknown environments

Today, many environments stay inaccessible to humans, even with modern cutting-edge technologies. For instance, there is currently no technologies available to explore deep underground oil wells, or the inside of water distribution systems. In this context, the PHOENIX project proposes to explore these unknown environments with very small wireless sensor nodes, known as agents. Those agents are able to gather and process data from sensors, in order to get information in the surrounding environment. The agents will be inserted at a given location in the environment to explore, and will be taken out in another location after exploring the environment. Inside, they will be completely autonomous and without any contact to a base station.

In this project, you will help the research team to design a first prototype of a ''ball'' that will serve as an first agent. In particular, your task will be to build a digital circuit that can gather sensory and communication data to store it in the most energy-efficient way inside the agent. Going in more details, you will:

  • Understand the way that the agent gathers all data, from communication and sensing parts
  • Build a digital circuit and the associated procedure to store data. This procedure should use the least amount of power consumption, knowing the system's constraints. You will e.g. use a low-power microcontroler and a memory.
  • Investigate new ways to configure the circuit depending on the observed conditions (optional)
  • Integrate you work with the other team members, where you will together design a Printed-Circuit Board (PCB) that will be inserted in the complete agent, as a ball of around a few cm diameter.
  • Test the overall agent in real conditions, by performing measurements in a fluid medium.