Multi-sensor research project for orthopaedics and navigation sectors

April 08, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
A collaborative research programme co-ordinated by Bosch, the 9D Sense research project has the goal of developing a compact, cost-efficient, and autonomous multi-sensor system that will offer precise determination of position and orientation; the programme includes 11 project partners from four countries

Energy-autonomous, multi-sensor systems are the objective of the 9D programme; new applications for smart sensor systems are emerging in the fields of consumer electronics, medical devices, and security technology. These are typically characterised by increasingly challenging requirements regarding cost, size, quality, and energy efficiency. The “9D Sense” collaborative project, which is funded by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and coordinated by Robert Bosch GmbH, aims to address this challenge by developing a compact, cost-efficient, and autonomous multi-sensor system.

The new multi-sensor system will combine a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, and three-axis magnetometer to offer nine degrees of freedom. It will also include a power supply unit with a thin-film battery and an energy harvester, along with a secure wireless data transmitter. The system will be capable of precisely determining its position and orientation by evaluating the Earth's magnetic field and movement patterns. This method is necessary in situations where no GPS or Galileo signal is available for absolute positioning, for example inside buildings.

The 9D Sense project involves the collaboration of eleven partners from four countries. Four of these partners – Robert Bosch GmbH, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology ISIT, the Institute of Micro and Information Technology of the Hahn-Schickard Society, and the Austrian company austriamicrosystems AG – are developing technologies for the sensor system. As part of its work on the power supply aspects, Robert Bosch GmbH is working on a thin-film battery in collaboration with Darmstadt University of Technology, the University of Helsinki in Finland, and the French company Air Liquide. Micropelt and the Institute of Micro and Information Technology of the Hahn-Schickard Society are carrying out research into a suitable power supply unit geared towards a special demonstrator. In their role as end users, Gemalto (France), Otto Bock Healthcare, and Bosch Sensortec GmbH are all contributing demonstrators focused on the fields of security technology, medical devices, and navigation.

The project, which is scheduled