Major funding boost for research into wearable sensors
The future of wearable technology and its potential to integrate with networked systems within smart cities is the focus of a major funding award received by the University of Southampton.
Thanks to a prestigious Platform Grant of just over £1.4M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Professor Steve Beeby and his colleagues in Electronics and Computer Science will continue to investigate Wearable and Autonomous Computing for Future Smart Cities.
Professor Beeby says that the Grant will fund the further development of low-energy sensors integrated within clothing which can then interface with a variety of networks to collect and process data. By crowd-sensing information in this way, data could then be used to positively influence and support the well-being and activities of those working and living in a smart city environment.
“The overall goal is to make wearable technology ubiquitous so that you have an array of sensors contributing to the smart city agenda,” Professor Beeby explains. “Combining this technology with agent-based decision-making systems makes it possible for us to link with building management systems, for example, which could then directly tailor building services such as lighting and temperature for people’s comfort and well-being.
“We could also use these wearable sensors to monitor pollution in cities and link with intelligent systems like the street lighting network in Southampton where the lampposts are now wirelessly linked with a currently underutilised capacity to transfer data,” Professor Beeby continues. “Such developments will underpin autonomous systems of the future, benefit the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) and enable the next generation of smart city applications.”
Professor Beeby, the project’s Principal Investigator, is joined by Southampton colleagues Dr Geoff Merrett, Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dr Alex Weddell and Dr Sarvapali Ramchurn; and Dr Enrico Costanza of University College London as Co-Investigators on the project.
The group will also work with external project partners ARM Ltd, Mayflower Complete Lighting Control, NquiringMinds Ltd and Smart Garment People.