Sensing Technologies Talks

DISI Seminar
11 maggio 2023
Orario di inizio 
Polo Ferrari 1 - Via Sommarive 5, Povo (Trento)
aula Garda
Comunità universitaria
Ingresso libero
Flavio Vella
Luisa Petti, Martina Costa Angeli, Pietro Ibba, Manuela Ciocca e Antonio Altana


  • 11:00 - 11:05 Presentation of the Sensing Technologies Lab at Libera Università di Bolzano: Overview of Current Activities by Luisa Petti
  • 11:05 - 11:35 Talk 1: Wearable sensors for non-invasive sport monitoring by Martina Costa Angeli
  • 11:35 - 12:05 Talk 2: Bioimpedance in fruit quality characterization: from on-plant to postharvest applications by Pietro Ibba
  • 12:05 - 12:20 Talk 3: Photo-sensitive bio-hybrid interfaces for biophotonic applications: from plants to human living cells by Manuela Ciocca
  • 12:20 - 12:35 Talk 4: Sensors and digital solutions in the Winter Industry domain by Antonio Altana

Talk 1: Wearable sensors for non-invasive sport monitoring

Speaker: Martina Costa Angeli, Libera Università di Bolzano

In the past decade, the possibility of monitoring performance and physiological-related signals during real-time activities has attracted increasing interest in the sport sector. Gaining a real-time understanding of the athlete’s status can, in fact, provide useful insights on how to improve performance, e.g., by creating athlete-specific training protocols, limiting thus the onset of muscular fatigue and the risk of injury. A key role in enabling such an approach is played by the recent advancements in wearable sensors, which are nowadays able to monitor on-field biovital and biomechanical parameters, such as surface electromyography (SEMG), electrocardiogram (ECG), kinetic parameters, pulse, temperature. Next-generation of wearable sensors demands electronic systems able  to be integrated directly into the textile, being soft, comfortable, unobtrusive stretchable, and breathable, to measure also the biochemical profile of the athletes, which can be extracted from the analysis of the electrolytes and of the analytes present in sweat, and to be self-powered, by exploring new energy harvesting technologies.

Here, our recent work in the development and characterization of wearable physical, chemical,  and self-powered sensors for sports applications will be shown. Specifically, we will present

  1. the development and validation of printed textile-based strain sensors able to monitor the breathing rate during different activities,
  2. the design and fabrication of flexible and planar electrolyte gated  field-effect transistors functionalized with an ion-selective membrane for the detection of ammonium in sweat,  and
  3. the development of wearable and soft triboelectric sensors for real-time pulse monitoring and gait analysis.

The reliable and real-time assessment of fruit quality and ripeness from the field to the table throughout all the phases of harvesting, handling and transport is extremely important to meet production and consumer demands, and at the same time drastically reduce food waste. To reach these objectives, there is an urgent need for fast, reliable, cost-effective, and portable non-destructive techniques allowing a real-time quantitative-based high-throughput decision making process. In this context, electrical impedance spectroscopy, also defined bioimpedance when applied to a biological tissue, is attracting increasing interest. In fact, exploiting the recent extraordinary advances in the field of materials, device architecture, data analysis, and system integration, it is now possible to realize highly portable sensor systems and reliable prediction models, to bring the characterization of fruit quality directly on-field.

Keywords: wearable sensors, triboelectricity, sweat ammonium detection, breathing rate monitoring

Talk 2: Bioimpedance in fruit quality characterization: from on-plant to postharvest applications

SpeakerPietro Ibba, Libera Università di Bolzano

In this talk, our recent work in the application of bioimpedance for fruit quality will be presented. We will first establish a theoretical background on the technique, highlighting its pros and cons, as well as the relationship between the electrical data and the biology of fruit.

Next, we will present our portable impedance analyzer (the FruitMeter) and its integration with custom-made printed electrodes for the on-plant and non-destructive contact with the fruit, as well as the effectiveness of the ad-hoc developed machine learning classification algorithms for the on-plant discrimination of ripe and unripe fruits. In addition, an overview of the application of this technique for fruit post-harvest quality, ageing and damage detection will be given.

Finally, we will also show how bioimpedance can be employed in the monitoring of plant health status, closing the circle for a complete application of bioimpedance in precision agriculture.

Keyword: agritech

Talk 3: Photo-sensitive bio-hybrid interfaces for biophotonic applications: from plants to human living cells

SpeakerManuela Ciocca, Libera Università di Bolzano

Bioelectronics and bio-nanotechnology offer vast potential for both medical and plant applications. In particular, the development of bio-hybrid interfaces, which combines biological and technological systems, has the potential to revolutionize these fields. Although several potential benefits are asserted, there are still many challenges to be faced for both medical and plant applications. Bioengineering is the key to solving technological issues, offering multidisciplinary breakthrough technology and opening new getaways to integrate living systems into technological applications. 

In the last decades, organic semiconductors (OSCs) gained great interest in bioelectronics, due to their outstanding electrical and optical features and their significant bio-interfacing capabilities. OSCs are used for the development of biomaterials and bio-sensors enabling the light-mediated stimulation, monitor and control of biological systems. 

In this talk photo-sensitive bio-hybrid interfaces for biophotonic applications will be exploited. Recent advancements in the field, such as OSCs nanoparticles integrated in photosynthetic systems for bioenergy production, bio-hybrid platform for light-control of ion fluxes in living cells, and 3D bioprinted photo-sensitive cell scaffolds for biomedicine applications will be explored and discussed. Technology and fabrication processes will be presented highlighting advantages and drawbacks. 

Involving biocompatible electrical materials for stimulating, monitoring and controlling biological functions (e.g. cells proliferation, plants growth), bioelectronics is revolutionizing medical treatment, bioenergy production and agriculture. By blurring the boundary between living and non-living systems, biohybrid interfaces open a new realm of possibilities in both the medical and plant fields. It is our responsibility to explore the potential of this new technology responsibly and find innovative ways to apply its amazing capabilities to improve healthcare and agriculture all over the world.

Keywords: Bioelectronics, biophotonics, organic semiconducting polymers, bio-hybrid interfaces

Talk 4: Sensors and digital solutions in the Winter Industry domain

Speaker: Antonio Altana, Libera Università di Bolzano

Winter sport and recreational activities are one of the leading sectors for the economies of mountain areas and industries of the Italian North-East connected to such activities are highly competitive and has reach a high level of technological innovation.

A trademark of all these companies is the attention to sustainability, in terms of respect for the environment and minimization of the carbon footprint. Thus, the development of innovative and use of environmental-friendly materials, smart solutions for energy productions, as well as monitoring and communication networks are crucial.

Implementation of new technologies is necessary for safety, prevention, and emergency response with a multidisciplinary and evidence-based approach, including based on changes related to new epidemiology and climate change.

Wireless sensor networks can guarantee the backbone for an accurate and widespread monitoring of natural- and human-based events and allow the immediate implementation of emergency strategies. The basic elements of innovation to be developed within the I-NEST project are:

  1. Sensors systems for measuring atmospheric values as well as physiological parameters.
  2. A communication network connecting various sensors and delivering data to a server.
  3. Energy harvesting solution to render the whole sensor network autonomous and capable to operate also in isolated environments.

With a focus on sustainability, all these components are developed using environmentally friendly materials and low-power solutions.

Keyword: inest