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Autonomous Sensors For Underwater Monitoring In Smart Navy Systems

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Short Description

Since underwater monitoring with smart sensors can be extremely expensive due to the high cost involved in underwater devices, it is important that the deployed network be works for many years or even autonomously to avoid the failure monitoring, especially if there are involved many sensors. For example, it is crucial design the node with low power components and techniques (i.e. ultra low power wake-up detectors) to reduce the power consumption but also use energy harvesting system such as microbial fuel cell. The communication plays also an important role and wake up detectors that works with ultra-sounds is a promising solution. As a sensor the project will investigate in acoustic sensors that are one of most promising sensor in that application but other sensors will be considered.

The project will address the challenges of always on underwater monitoring in the face of low energy and long lifetime. One of main expected result is on the investigation and development of novel zero-power sensors that act as a trigger for the rest of the system when important event is detected and consume zero-power between two detections. Other important results will be provided by combination of hardware and software co-design to achieve the ambitious goal of placing the smart sensor never recharge it. This goal will be achieved by developing novel hardware, sensors, energy harvesting and devising low-power techniques for data computation, machine learning, communication. Finally, the novel aspects of the project will be demonstrated on a sensors network running exemplar critical applications from underwater domains achieving autonomous self-sustainable in real applications.

The hardware and software load of the thesis will be balanced according with the skills and preferences of the candidate students when the details task description will be provided before the student project will start. In field, measurements of the system will be performed from the students as important activity in order to evaluate power consumption, reliability, functionality, classification accuracy and energy efficiency and to further optimize the system.

Depending on the applicant's profile and project type, his tasks may involve some of the following:

  • Design of the full system to achieve an autonomous sensor. (PCB design, Low power Techniques, etc.)
  • Work with sensors , wireless communication, processors, wake-up sleep techniques and subsystems.
  • lab. testing/characterization of the existing prototype: verification of the prototype's characteristics w.r. design specification (simulations), measuring power-consumption, and assessing detection performance in lab. Conditions
  • Highlevel software programming, machine learning, wireless communication
  • Programming the circuit for specific application, field testing, data acquisition

Source of the image from

Status: Available

  • Looking for Semester and Master Project Students
Supervisors: Michele Magno


(not all need to be met by the single candidate)

  • experience using the laboratory instrumentation - signal generators, oscilloscopes, DAQ cards, Matlab etc.
  • analog electronics and signal conditioning with operational amplifiers: amplifiers, filters, integrators etc.
  • knowledge of microcontroller programming and PC programming (C/C++, preferably microcontroller with Bluetooth Low Energy but it is not mandatory)
  • basic knowledge on signal processing is a plus.
  • plus is knowledge on printed circuit board (PCB) using Altium.


30% Theory
50% Implementation
20% Testing


Luca Benini

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Detailed Task Description


Practical Details