Research Interests

My research interests are centered around wireless and embedded systems - with a focus on applied or "hands-on" topics at the intersection of hard- and software systems. I have been active in designing low-power wireless systems long before specialized conferences on (wireless) sensor networks have come to existence and so many fellow researchers have taken up this thread. Most recently I am very much interested in design, test and validation methodology for wireless networked embedded systems.

Current Projects

This is an overview of the research projects I am involved in. Please refer to the links for further details.

The Swiss Experiment

The Swiss Experiment (or SwissEx) platform project will bring field measurements together with cyberinfrastructure for an unprecedented field investigation of environmental processes.

In the Swiss Experiment, multidisciplinary environmental observations based on new sensor and data technology will make it possible to achieve an affordable yet unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution of complex environmental systems. It is structured along three major axes: data acquisition - the process of measuring and recording environmental parameters; data management - the means to safekeep that data and channel it to its users; and data exploitation - the application of models to that data in order to transform it into scientific and practical results.

  • Collaborators: Consortium of EAWAG, ETHZ, EPFL, WSL


NCCR MICS is the Swiss center for self-organizing mobile information and communication systems funded by the SNF. Within MICS I am involved in a number of activities.


The PermaSense project investigates the effect of permafrost in high-alpine environments. For this purpose the project develops innovative sensor technology for automated, unattended long-term data acquisition in the extremes of high-alpine regions. We target the monitoring of permafrost related environmental parameters necessary for a deeper understanding of the underlying geophysical processes over a period of multiple years.

See the live data and network status on the GSN based PermaSense Live Data Browser.

  • Collaborators: S. Gruber (Uni Zurich), C. Tschudin (Uni Basel), K. Aberer (EPFL)

Sensor Network Platform Kit

The Sensor Network Platform Kit aims at creating a sensor network out-of-a-box for basic low power sensing and data collection applications, e.g. environmental monitoring. Furthermore it will provide support and system integration know-how for application projects within NCCR MICS.

  • Collaborator: K. Aberer (EPFL), Moteiv Corp.

WSN Testing

WSN Testing

Design methodologies for the design, test and validation of wireless sensor networks. This work is a close cooperation with the TinyOS-2.x working group.

  • Collaborators: C. Plessl (Uni Paderborn)

Deployment of Sensor Networks

Deployment Support Network

This project addresses the deployment and programming problem of large-scale sensor networks in real-world settings. Its ultimate goal is to replace the current "trial-and-error deployment practice" with a systematic approach.

  • Collaborators: F. Mattern (ETH Zurich), P. Blum (Siemens Building Technologies, Zug)

Smart Buildings - Serious Building Games

Analysis of the energy consumption and ventilation of intelligent buildings and so-called sick buildings using sensor network technology.

  • Collaborators: L. Hovestadt, T. Gross and M. Morari (all ETH Zurich)

The Sensor Network Museumtm

The Sensor Network Museum<sup>tm</sup>

A collection of reference data and links for commonly used sensor network platforms, as well as related topics.



Within the TinyOS community I am member of the core working group, manage the testbed working group, contribute through the BTnode rev3 port and various build system, tool and testing improvements.

Completed Projects

Safety Critical Sensor Networks for Building Applications - aka Fire Sensor Network

The project focuses on hard dependability and real-time constraints in wireless sensor networks applied to a distributed wireless fire-alarm application.

  • Collaborators: B. Plattner (ETH Zurich), A. El-Hoiydi (CSEM, Neuchatel), G. Kaelin (Siemens Switzerland, Zurich) and P. Blum (Siemens Building Technologies, Zug)

BTnode Project

BTnode rev.3

The BTnode is a versatile and reliable platform for fast prototyping of sensor network applications and experiments. The BTnode rev3 is successfully used in many research projects spanning from wearable and ubiquitous computing applications using few nodes to large, interactive networking applications.

  • Collaborators: F. Mattern (ETH Zurich) and Art of Technology (Zurich)

NCCR-MICS – Communicating Embedded Systems

The project focused on an extreme area in the design space of communicating objects: the area of low energy, small size, and large population. Resulting in a close cooperation of algorithm design, aspects of middleware and system architecture is the work on the BTnode platform.

  • Collaborators: F. Mattern, R. Wattenhofer (both ETH Zurich) and A. Schiper (EPF Lausanne)

Miniaturized Wearable Computing: Technology and Applications

Investigation of novel communication structures for wearable computing systems and applications. System level architectural modeling and analysis using state-of-the art design space exploration tools were applied to the new domain of wearable computing and published in IEEE Transactions on Computers.

  • Collaborators: G. Tröster, B. Schiele, L. van Gool (all ETH Zurich)


A simulator for local positioning algorithms.

  • Collaborators: E. Wandeler (ETH Zurich)



Development of initial concepts for ultra-low power wireless localization. Based on experiments, a hybrid approach to determine the position of wireless networked nodes and suitable for the limited capabilities of such miniature sensor nodes has been developed. The resulting publications (with C. Savarese and J.M. Rabaey) were among the first in the field and have received a lot of attention in the scientific community.

  • Collaborators: J. Rabaey (UC Berkeley)

WinCE Engine

WinCE system design for mobile computing/navigation based on the Hitachi Super-H architecture. A joint project of ETH Zurich and u-blox AG.

  • Collaborators: T. Boesch (ETH Zurich), A. Thiel (u-blox AG, Zurich)

GPS-E1 Evaluation Kit

Development and manufacturing of a first generation GPS evaluation kit for u-blox AG GPS receivers.

  • Collaborators: A. Thiel, J.P. Wyss (u-blox AG, Zurich)

Palm Pilot Kiosk

A wireless modem for browsing the web on a first generation palm pilot. Quite a novelty at the time (1997) and inspired by Marc Weisers brand new ubiquitous computing vision it has become a commodity nowadays.

  • Collaborators: T. Boesch (ETH Zurich)

Build Your World

Build Your World!

An educational CDROM to promote studying Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich on the high-school level.

  • Collaborators: B. Plattner, M. Kreuzer (all ETH Zurich), Mike Manegold (Imagimation, Zug)



An experimental infrastructure for casting thixotropic aluminium.

  • Collaborators: A. Wahlen (ETH Zurich) and Aluminium Martigny