Electromagnetics experts explore future of Internet of Things in MSFEA short course

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Antennas and Rectennas for IoT Applications (ARIA) is a short course of the European School of Antennas that hit the ground running on Monday October 1, 2018 at the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA). This off-shore version of the short course is part of a series of courses that are held across Europe throughout the year. The short course targeted graduate and doctoral students and educated them on topics that are at the forefront of innovative new technologies in the world of applied electromagnetics, antennas, and radio frequency (RF) circuits. 

ARIA specifically covered the theory, design, fabrication and measurement of various antenna components that can be integrated within compact devices to allow them to communicate with each other within the setting of Internet of things (IoT). It also covered rectenna systems (Rectifier + Antenna) that collect ambient RF waves and convert them into direct current (DC) power in order to charge or trigger these compact devices. 

Dean of MSFEA Alan Shihadeh welcomed the students registered for this short course during the opening session, where he highlighted MSFEA’s direction towards more innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence in research and teaching. The opening session also included a presentation by Michel Nassar from National Instruments in which he stressed the importance of the topics of this short course especially as we head toward fifth-generation communications. National Instruments also sponsored 10 students to attend this short course at AUB. IEEE Antennas and Propagation, Microwave Theory and Techniques, and Magnetics societies in the IEEE Lebanon chapter sponsored another five students. The chair of these joint societies, Professor Ernst Huijer, also highlighted the importance of such activities at AUB and in Lebanon in general.

Students who registered for ARIA came from nine universities, as well as from companies that work in the IoT field. They gathered from Lebanon, KSA, Jordan, Turkey and France to attend this short course and learn from experts in the field. The short course was organized and taught by six professors who are active in this research area, including professors Joseph Costantine and Youssef Tawk from AUB, Leonardo Lizzi and Fabien Ferrero from Université Cote d’Azur (UCA) in France, Lars Jonsson from KTH in Sweden, and Manos Tentzeris from the Georgia Institute of Technology (GATech). 

During the opening session, Professor Lizzi introduced the European School of Antennas, while Professor Costantine introduced the short course along with its various activities. In an answer to a question about why the short course addresses IoT, Professor Costantine answered, “because it is simply the future, and we must take our research into this future. In 2020, 50 billion devices will constitute the backbone of IoT, hence it is expected that IoT will have the same impact on humanity as mobile phones had in late 90’s.”

​The course was divided between theoretical lectures and laboratory sessions that included training on various professional simulators and measurement equipment. Students left this short course equipped with much knowledge and expertise about this area of research. They will be able to employ this research into their own theses and dissertations at their various institutions.  

The short course concluded its activities on October 5, 2018 with a guest speaker, Professor Remi Sarkis, and a tutorial by National Instruments on next generation universal software radio peripherals (URSPs).