Dependable yet Intermittent Interconnected Things

Fact Sheet

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd-Christian Renner
Johannes Göpfert
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), DFG-Project: 492151098
07/2022 - 06/2025
Hochschule Niederrhein



The Internet of Things (IoT) is entering our lives as embedded systems have become smaller and more efficient, with small batteries enabling operation for several years. A revolutionary technology that can disappear in the environment and improve our quality of life - until battery replacement is required. To solve this issue, intermittent computing (IC) proposes to ditch batteries by harvesting energy from the environment and storing it in small buffers that (ideally) do not need replacement. Depending on the harvested energy source, e.g., sunlight or vibrations, energy availability for the device might be intermittent. These energy constraints demand new approaches, w.r.t task scheduling and networking protocols, to maintain the reliability of the embedded devices.


Goals and Contributions

In tight collaboration with our research partner from Hochschule Niederrhein (HSNR), Prof. Dr. Matteo Zella, we aim to take a fundamental step in making battery-free embedded systems real-world-compatible. Therefore, we intend to remove three fundamental barriers to the IC paradigm by investigating the following:

  • Proactive planning of when and how to use the limited available energy to boost the utility of the devices
  • Interconnection and coordination of multiple IC devices to offer dependable services despite intermittency
  • Understanding which IC system designs can fulfill specific application requirements through modeling, simulation, and systematic experimentation

The focus of TUHH will be on local and network-wide task scheduling for IC devices. The partner HSNR spotlights time keeping and communication of IC devices. In DI2T, we will research and develop scheduling algorithms and networking protocols and gather fundamental theoretical and practical insights necessary to enable IC systems for real-world applications. Along the way, the project will provide a foundational contribution to an emerging research community aiming at changing IoT into a robust and friendly technology that can truly disappear in the environment.