Leveraging Physical Locality to Integrate Smart Appliances in Non-Residential Buildings with Ultrasound and Bluetooth Low Energy

In this project, we are exploring new ways in how IoT devices should be connected locally and to the Internet, and how we can ease the local access of such smart appliances through sound-based localization in the context of non-residential buildings. Smart appliances and sensors have become widely available. We are deploying them in our homes to manage the level of comfort, energy consumption or security. While such smart appliances are becoming an integral part of modern home automation systems, their integration into non-residential buildings is problematic.

Human-in-the-loop BMS Point Matching and Metadata Labeling with Babel

In this project, we work on solving the problem of inconsistent Building Management Systems (BMS) metadata in non-residential buildings through crowd-sourcing the building occupants. Inconsistent BMS metadata hinders the deployment of novel cyber-physical applications. The reasons that make non-residential buildings a prime candidate for cyber-physical applications are numerous: These buildings account for a major share in energy use in Western countries, while the average person spends a long time inside them.


With BUSICO3D, we developed a system that provides: (i) a virtual representation of a building as a more natural interface for human interaction, and (ii) an integration of simulation and control that allows the testing of configurations without any harm on the physical building or personal environment (see Figure 1). BUSICO3D uses sMAP as an abstraction layer for accessing and describing various sensors and actuators of the physical building. The structure of the physical building is derived from an imported BIM (Building information modeling) model.


COSMGrid was developed within the scope of Energy Futures. COSMGrid applies good practices from Computer Science to design a cost effective and flexible microgrid. It is based on off-the-shelf power electronic components (including inverters) that are controlled and monitored by an open source infrastructure based on AVR microcontrollers (Arduino). By de-coupling the control and monitoring part from the power electronics hardware and creating a layer on top, COSMGrid is significantly cheaper than using special purpose power electronics hardware.

Node Benchmarking

For various projects in the scope of sensor networks it is often necessary to benchmark their performance in terms of energy consumption and computing performance. Measuring energy consumption with a osciloscope can be cumbersome. Sensor nodes operate on low currents. Usually a shunt resitor is used to transform current to a voltage that then can be measured. However a current consumption in the µA range will only lead to a small voltage drop.