Individual Projects


Air Quality Nodes & Dashboard

A consortium of AI, hardware, and public health experts have collaborated to develop a groundbreaking solution to air quality monitoring in the Global South. The Air Quality Nodes & Dashboard project utilizes low-cost air quality sensors, IoT-based technologies, and machine learning to provide real-time air quality measurements, as well as predictions based on trends.

The project, in collaboration with CERN Green Village and the University of Witwatersrand, will combine hardware components with an online web service application to process and display the data in a graphical format. This allows machine learning methods to be used on the data, developing models to predict air quality in the future. The project has already developed and deployed ten prototypes, which have been shown to be accurate and functioning ideally. The next stage is the deployment of these sensors in areas of low air quality in South Africa.

The project's expected outcome is the mass-production and deployment of these nodes throughout the Global South, particularly in areas that have been neglected in studies on air quality. The project will help inform decisions about public health, mining, real estate, and numerous other industries in the private and public sectors. The project is expected to last for two years.

With the Air Quality Nodes & Dashboard project, the consortium aims to bridge the gap in air quality monitoring and benefit the Global South through innovative technologies and scientific research. 



Passive reflectors for 6G data transmission

Wireless 6G data transfer is expected to be introduced commercially sometime in the early 2030s. 6G networks will use higher radio frequencies than 5G and allow microsecond latency communications, thereby potentially pushing wireless data rates up to 1 terabyte per second. This development is thought to bring about as-yet unachievable innovations in wireless IoT-connectivity, edge-computing, sensing, imaging, and cognition. This increase in transmission output will come at a cost, however. Base-stations and other active network devices (e.g., IAB nodes, smart repeaters) will likely need to be more densely deployed than current 5G systems to reach envisaged data and latency rates. This fact may become a significant planning, economic, and permitting problem in high-urban density environments. Indeed, although the new capabilities of 6G will likely be welcomed by many professional and private users, there may also be significant concerns related to the sustainability of the wireless service due to its increasing energy hunger. It is therefore important that timely and green solutions are found that may lower the use of energy while guaranteeing high quality of service and also bringing down 6G installation and operating cost.

The ELEDIA@UniTN research group at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering (DICAM) of the University of Trento (https://www.eledia.org/eledia-unitn/) has developed a highly innovative paradigm, named Smart Electromagnetic Environment (SEME) for revolutionizing the design of future wireless systems. Within the SEME, several technological solutions and methodologies have been developed including static passive electromagnetic skins (SP-EMS), based on artificially engineered materials enabling arbitrary wireless signal reflection breaking the traditional Snell’s law. Such a technology is extremely low-cost and easily deployable. Their capability of tailoring the signal propagation to enhance the wireless coverage has been confirmed through indoor and outdoor testing in everyday life scenarios. It is expected that such a technology, once upscaled, could reduce the required number of active devices and provide an average cost saving of tens of euros per square meter as compared to traditional active coverage-enhancement strategies due to their recurrent energy costs adding to those required for the device purchasing, installation, and maintenance. 


(a) Graphical visualization of the SP-EMS working principle
(b) SEME empowered Wi-Fi network in a realistic indoor scenario at DICAM
(c) Picture of a SP-EMS fabricated prototype and real deployment at DICAM


Technology demonstration inside CERN service tunnels

The ELEDIA@UniTN research group has recently teamed up with CERN’s Green Village to test and demonstrate different SP-EMS solutions inside CERN’s underground service tunnels. Some of the selected tunnels are kilometers long, others are sharply bend or curved and contain different obstacle shapes and sizes. The ELEDIA@UniTN team aims at investigating future applicability potential of the electromagnetic skins in – for example – long motorway tunnels to guarantee full data connectivity under all circumstances (including calamities) without the need for tunnel-specific and maintenance-intensive base-stations or power supply facilities. Obtaining testing permits on public tunnels is highly complex and time-consuming, so for this reason, the ELEDIA@UniTN turned to CERN’s Green Village. CERN’s specific interest in the demonstration is to identify whether the SEME technology could in future help to reduce the issues of low-data connectivity or signal dead-spots inside some of its buildings and tunnels. The collaboration between the ELEDIA@UniTN research group and CERN’s Green Village started in November 2023 and is expected to last for one year. It includes SP-EMS design and planning based on GIS/CAD tools, prototyping and physical installation in service tunnels, benchmarking and comparative analysis of data signal strength inside different service tunnel sections. The research activity carried out by the ELEDIA@UniTN research group is led by Prof. Andrea Massa.


(d) and (e): View of the CERN demo tunnels