Edge computing for extreme environments

Challenging operating environments are common across many important internet of things (IoT) applications related to enterprises and the circular economy, including automotive, aerospace, industrial and power generation. However, conventional electronics are not suitable for operation in challenging and harsh environments, e.g. at high temperatures. i- EDGE establishes an enabling nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switch technology platform for IoT edge devices operating under demanding conditions, i.e., high temperature (<300 °C) and/or high-radiation (<1 Mrad), uses zero standby power, non-volatile memory and has low compute performance requirements.

i-EDGE will realize a proof-of-concept demonstrator of a NEM “system-on-chip” (SoC) IoT node with a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), non- volatile memory, and a temperature sensor, powered by a high-temperature capacitor bank, with a wireless power receiver for trickle charging the capacitor, and a simple data transceiver and sensor readout to interface to the on-chip FPGA and non-volatile memory. The FPGA fabric will be based on the NEM switch technology for digital logic, and integrated with a non-volatile memory array, analog utility blocks for wireless power transfer, data exchange and sensor readout. We will develop a NEM physical design kit (PDK) for design and circuit simulation, which will facilitate broad usage by application engineers. The technology and design flow will be demonstrated with a condition monitoring application, that has been developed for industrial IoT processes. In several previous EU and national projects, our technology has matured to Technology Readiness Level 3 (TRL3) and i-EDGE will bring it to TRL5.

The i-EDGE consortium has all expertise to establish a full supply chain, from basic logic and memory cell design to Systems-on-Chip and a migration path to pilot manufacturing of the NEM technology in Europe. Thus, i-EDGE will help position the EU at the cutting edge of chip design and manufacturing capabilities, as envisaged by the EU Chips Act.

i-EDGE builds on the technological foundations developed in the Horizon2020 project ZeroAMP.

This work was supported by the i-EDGE project, which has received funding from the European Union, the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government's Horizon Europe funding guarantee (grant numbers 10061130 and 10063023).

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA), SERI or UKRI. Neither the European Union nor the granting authorities can be held responsible for them.