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"KI-PREDICT" – Intelligent process monitoring with on-sensor signal preprocessing

www.iis.fraunhofer.de, Apr. 28, 2021 – 

Group manager Dr. Matthias Völker and senior engineer Dr. Markus Stahl-Offergeld both work in the Smart Sensing and Electronics Division at Fraunhofer IIS. They are currently working on "KI-PREDICT", a project funded by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) devoted to on-sensor data processing supported by AI functions. For this project, the two experts are focusing on the development of a "sensor interface ASIC" with integrated AI functions. One of the partners in the "KI-PREDICT" project is Rolf Slatter, the managing director of Sensitec GmbH since 2009. Sensitec is a global market leader in high-quality, innovative magnetic sensor solutions. We asked Matthias Völker, Markus Stahl-Offergeld, and Rolf Slatter to tell us about the project and their collaboration.

How did the KI-PREDICT project come about and what is the idea behind it?

Dr. Völker:The main focus of our department is on developing integrated circuits for sensor-based analog and digital signal processing. Thanks to developments in the field, AI functions can now be integrated directly in the sensor, thereby requiring very little energy. So rather than merely having an analog sensor interface and digital filtering, the KI-PREDICT project goes a step further, incorporating certain AI functions into the sensor itself. The sensor is designed in such a way as to allow data to be acquired, processed, and evaluated locally.

What is the goal of the project?

Dr. Völker: IIn this project we are developing an integrated circuit comprising both the analog interface, i.e., the direct connection to the sensor, and digital assessment capabilities with AI functions. These capabilities are then tailored to the applications envisaged in the project. This application-specific integrated circuit means we can process data faster than would be possible with a standard microcontroller. As a result, conventional industrial buses, which connect the sensor to the control unit, can be used. These buses only allow relatively low data rates. They don't just transmit the measurement data, but also additional information obtained by means of AI, such as information about the condition of the sensor or the workpiece. In this way, conventional industrial buses are expanded with new functions. This expansion and integration are the goal of the project.

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