Development and application of innovative sensor systems

This scope focuses on sensors, sensor nodes, and RFID systems which are necessary for the implementation of the planned monitoring technologies. On the one hand, already known measurement approaches are used and extended, e.g. to detect the humidity or temperature. On the other hand, new instruments are needed and developed, such as ethylene concentration measurement systems for fruit shipments, miniaturized collision measurement systems or air-flow measurement equipment. In addition to existing sensor node systems, a RFID sensor node system is developed and tested.

Schematic draft of the application of wireless sensor nodes in a container
Schematic draft of the RFID-sensor node approach in a container
Some Components of the ethylene measurement system
Schematic of the ethylene measurement system

Because of the fruits sensitivity to ethylene this gas has to be monitored in the container with concentrations in the three-digit ppbv range. Thus, a new ethylene measurement system is under development. Procedural aspects in miniaturized systems and software-driven interpretation of the data are major challenges.

Sensor node with flow sensor

Flow sensors are integrated to monitor and improve the ventilation within containers. They are embedded on a system that wirelessly captures the airflow values.

In addition devices for the hue-detection of bananas are developed, because the color of fruits is also a quality indicator. This parameter can be used for a roughly estimation of the banana –shelf life. Currently, bananas are sorted manually according to their color. In future, this will be done much more objectively and reliably using autonomous color detection systems.

Another topic discussed within Scope 1 is the study of acceleration forces that occur due to improper handling of goods. The interest in this aspect is based on two reasons: First, defects in high-priced products caused by impacts can be duly recorded. Second, bumps and bruises on sensitive goods resulting from improper handling can be detected.

In summary, the objectives of the work in Scope 1 are described as follows:

Provision and development of all necessary sensor systems for the proposed monitoring system such as:

  • Data transmission at 2.4 GHz,
  • Humidity sensors,
  • Temperature sensors,
  • Acceleration sensors,
  • Wireless recharging of sensor nodes,
  • Ethylene measurement system,
  • Acceleration data logger,
  • Flow sensor systems,
  • RFID-sensor nodes,
  • Optical measurement system for hue-detection of bananas.


Analysis, research and studies:

  • resulting acceleration forces on high-priced goods,
  • Feasibility of mold detection by gas concentration measurement,
  • RFID feasibility study with the developed system,
  • Air flow patterns in the container.