Tomorrow's objects

On April 9, theInstitut d'Électronique et des Systèmes (IES) opened its doors. An opportunity for the general public to discover the intelligent objects that are shaping tomorrow's world.
It has dethroned the electricity fairy: electronics is at the heart of our societies. Physicists, doctors, town planners and public administrators can no longer do without its applications. Electronics? "The discipline that transforms the physical world into usable information". says Alain Foucaran, Director of IES.

Immersion in the electronics of the future

On the Saint Priest campus in Montpellier, the brand new Research Center for Information Science and Technology is home to 220 IES employees. On April 9, it opened its doors for an immersion in the electronics of the future. On the program: lasers or wifi of the future, sensors or nano-satellites, energies of tomorrow. But also the less spectacular innovations at the heart of the intelligent city. " Water, energy, security, health, the environment... these are just some of the challenges that electronics applications are helping to meet in our modern cities.
Another major challenge is information processing. Alain Foucaran paints a vivid picture. "In 2003, humanity had finished scanning the documents produced throughout its history. An enormous mass of information... the equivalent of which was generated in 2011 alone. Today, it takes just 48 hours to produce the same amount of data".
By 2017, 80 billion "communicating objects" will populate the planet. At IES, we're working to make them miniaturized and reliable. But also to make them autonomous. This is the ultimate challenge: providing the necessary energy to these discreet yet omnipresent servants.

Environment: the sensors that protect us

Identify pollutants in the blink of an eye: that's what lasers designed by the Nanomir group at IES can do. By matching their wavelengths, these infrared lasers can identify the gaseous species present in the air. And the applications? There are many," explains Aurore Vicet. "Control of greenhouse gas emissions, air quality in cities, detection of pollutants inside buildings or vehicles... Today, these environmental issues are crucial, and they represent a booming market". Agronomy is also interested: by assessing the quantity of ethylene emitted by fruit, IES sensors can help control ripening in situ, without the need for chemical intervention.

Health: when your joints talk to your doctor

They are equipped with a "Sim card" similar to the one on your cell phone. These new-generation surgical prostheses carry all the relevant data: type of implant, date of operation, as well as information on any deformities. This means your doctor can monitor the condition of your prosthesis in vivo. The traceability enabled by this device also provides a real response to a public health problem," explains Stéphane Nodi, an orthopedic surgeon. How do the various models behave over time? We're finally going to have a global view of these issues. Developed by the M2A group (Matériaux, Micro-capteurs et Acoustique) and the Bonetag company, the system is currently available for hip and knee prostheses. In a second phase, it will be available for all joints.

Energy: electricity without borders

Every storm reminds us: in France, burying power lines is a priority. Safety, aesthetics, the environment: there are countless arguments for reducing the overhead network. " It's also a question of transporting energy over very long distances, from one country to another, or ensuring offshore connections for wind farms," explains Serge Agnel, from the Energy and Materials Group. A team that is now providing cable-layers and network operators with a revolutionary technique for testing the reliability of buried or submerged cables. A world first for a titanic international market, at a time when energy needs are exploding worldwide... The team is currently working on the insulation for the high-voltage DC networks linking France and Spain. Next step: the link with Italy.