Research

Main research interests and projects

The research interests of Prof. Saponara at the Dept. of Information Engineering, University of Pisa, are in the field of integrated electronic circuits and systems for measurements, control and communication.

Application domains include vehicles, IoT (internet-of-things), and in general ICT systems operating in harsh environments and/or with functional safety requirements (space, high-energy physics experiments, telemedicine, industrial automation, energy systems, oil&gas industry…).

Experimental activities are mainly carried out in two laboratories of University of Pisa.

  • Electronics Systems Lab
  • RF and Wireless Lab

The main themes of his publications are:

  • Integrated Electronics and Embedded Systems
  • Wireless and Electronics Measurements

In about 20 years of career, Prof. Saponara has published about 300 scientific works, in international peer-reviewed journals (most of IEEE, Elsevier and Springer editors), proceedings of international conferences (most of IEEE and SPIE), international patents.

His H-index is 24 in Scopus and ISI WoS, 24 in Google Scholar.

In these fields he has international collaborations (common research project and/or scientific publications) with institutions and universities such as CERN in Switzerland; ESA/ESTEC in the Netherlands; IMEC in Belgium; University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and University of California at Berkeley in US; MIT in US; University of Athens in Greece; Rovira y Virgili University of Tarragona and Fundacion CITIC (Centro Andaluz de Innovación y Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones) in Spain; RWTH Aachen University, University of Krefeld, Fraunhofer institutes ISIT and IIS in Germany.

He also collaborates with national institutes of research such as ASI (Italian Space Agency), INFN, CNR, CNIT and CINI.

Prof. Saponara has also international collaborations with R&D centers of big industries such as STMicroelectronics, Austriamicrosystems, VALEO, Selex, Thales Alenia, MAGNA, Ericsson, Renesas, General Electric, PowerONE (now ABB) or SME (Small Medium Enterprise) such as FlyBy, Rico, CEG, Sitael, Intecs, IDS.

Particularly Prof. Saponara has a leading role in the research activities of automotive electronics, focusing on both integrated electronics for harsh environment vehicular applications and image/radar processing embedded systems for smart mobility.

In these fields, he has been appointed as the representing professor of the Dept. of Information Engineering in the interUniversity Center for Automotive and mobility Research (UCAR) whose activities involve Italian and German Universities.

He is the co-founder and is member of the scientific committee of the Master in Automotive Engineering and Principles of Management, jointly organized by the Universities of Pisa and Florence.

He has been also president or member of evaluation committees of PhD students at University of Pisa (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014), Politecnico di Torino (2006, 2012, 2014, 2017), University of Tampere in Finland (2011), Indian Institute of Technology of Bangalore, India (2010). He held also an invited talk on “low-power and highly integrated radar” at the PhD summer school in Electronics organized in 2012 by the Italian National Group of Electronics (GE). He is also member of the committee that organizes the IEEE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF IMAGING (I2SI), IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society

Prof. Saponara has been involved as main investigator for the University of Pisa in several National and International research projects (listed hereafter), awarded through a peer-review process.

National funding, 2-year PRIN project funded by MIUR “Enabling blocks for the integration in CMOS technology of an Ultra Wide Band Transceiver multi-band OFDM”, 2-year project (2006-2008), particularly focused on the design of high-speed A/D converters and of baseband signal processing ICs for UWB terminals adopting multi-band OFDM modem

FESR 2007-2013, project “AMDS: Advanced Mechatronic Door System”, 2-year project (2011-2013), focused on the design of innovative mechatronic components on next generation vehicles

FESR 2007-2013, 2-year project (2014-2015) “Microeye” on the design of an innovative hyperspectral camera payload (operating in visible, near infrared and far infrared spectrum), with very low size, weight and power consumption, for small UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to be used in surveillance and environmental  monitoring missions

European Space Agency project. “Microelectronic devices for engineering measurements and health monitoring” 2-year project (2008-2009) on innovative devices and design methodologies for sensor signal acquisition and processing for the test of satellite structures

FESR 2007-2013, 1-year project (2015) “JUVEB: Joint Urban Vehicle Electric-Bike” on the design of electronic sub-systems for electric vehicles

FP7 EU project “Athenis 3D: Automotive Tested High-voltage and Embedded Non-volatile Integrated System-on-chip platform employing 3D integration”, 3-year project (2014-currently on going).

Prof. Saponara has also coordinated the scientific reporting for some national projects involving the University of Pisa: FIRB IDEE Progettuali (2008-2011) and Filiera H2 Idrogeno (2008-2012) on low-emission vehicles and green mobility.

Other research projects are listed in the technology Transfer section of this we b site

See http://people.unipi.it/sergio_saponara/technology_transfer/

 

National and international reputation and activity for the scientific community

Prof. Saponara is member as Associate Editor of the Editorial Board of 2 international journals, cited in both ISI and SCOPUS scientific data base, with high impact factor:

IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine

IEEE Canadian Journal of Computer and Electrical Engineering

Journal of Real-Time Image Processing (Springer)

Electronics Letters (IEE/IET, also available through IEEExplore)

Moreover, he has been also the Editor in Chief for special issues in international journals:

– Special Issue “Privacy and Security in Wireless Sensor Networks: Protocols, Algorithms and Efficient Architectures” , Journal of Computer Networks and Communications (2012)

– Special Issue “Design Methods and Innovative Architectures for Mixed-signal Embedded Systems” – Journal of Embedded Systems (2010)

– Special Issue “Algorithms and Architectures for Real-time Multi-dimensional Image Processing “- Journal of Real Time Image Processing (2014)

– Special Issue “Algorithms and Architectures for Real-time Image and Video Enhancement”, Journal of Real Time Image Processing (2013)

He also coordinated as Editor the publication of the Proceedings of the national congress of electronics (GE2012)

Prof. Saponara is also the promoter and scientific director, with Prof. Giuliano Manara, of the Summer School of the University of Pisa “Enabling technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT)”, co-organized with the University of Kiel.

The first edition, held in July 2016, involved 32 students coming from 12 different countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa with teachers from Universities of Pisa and Kiel and from industries (STMicroelectronics, Anritsu, Linear Technology, IDS, Zerynth, Cubitlab, Syn-Tau). To this aim, an IoT Industry Special Day has been organized.

See http://www.lanazione.it/pisa/cronaca/pisa-universit%C3%A0-internet-1.2393873

The Proceedings of the Summer School has been published in a E-Book, editors Prof. S. Saponara and Prof. G. Manara, ISBN 978-88-902289-1-9, entitled “Proceedings of the Summer School on Enabling Technologies for the Internet of Things (ETIOT2016)”

Prof. Saponara has been Marie Curie Research Fellow in 2002 at the Interuniversity MicroElectronics Center (IMEC) of Leuven, Belgium, a top research center in Europe for microelectronics. In IMEC he carried out research activities on design methodologies for multimedia systems leading to 2 contributions to the ISO-IEC and ITU-T international standardization activities on MPEG/AVC and on H.264 and to scientific publications (IEEE Packet Video 2013, Eurasip Journal on Applied Signal Processing 2014).

Prof. Saponara held also scientific seminars at the Tampere University of Technology, Finland in 2011 and at the European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC), Netherlands, in 2007

Prof. Saponara has scientific associations with:

  • The Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN)
  • The national laboratory for smart cities of CINI (National Interuniversity Consortium for Informatics)
  • The National Interuniversity Consortium for Telecommunications (CNIT)

Prof. Saponara contributed also to Governing bodies of national and international scientific societies being:

  • IEEE Senior Member
  • Member of the IEEE Special Interest Group on Internet of Things (IoT SIG SPS) for the Signal Processing Society

Prof. Saponara contributed also to SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics) in the organization of several international conferences (SPIE VLSI systems, SPIE Microtechnologies, SPIE Real-time Image Processing).

Within the Gruppo Nazionale Elettronica GE Prof. Saponara contributed, as technical program chair, to the organization of the national congress held in Pisa (GE2012).

Since 2013 he is in the governing board of APPLEPIES (Application of Electronics Pervading Industry, Environment and Society), the annual event organized by the Electronic Systems Area of GE with an annual conference and annual publication of a book of the Springer Lecture Notes on Electrical Engineering.

Prof. Saponara represents the Department of Information Engineering in the governing bodies of MOVET (Centro d’Iniziativa su MOtori, VEicoli e Tecnologie) and UCAR (interuniversity Center for Automotive and Mobility Research involving Italian and German Universities)

Prof. Saponara held invited talks at several international conferences of SPIE and IEEE, among them the Plenary Talk, opening the conference, at the IEEE Radar Conference 2012 (Atlanta, US) entitled “Advances in Technologies and Architectures for Low-Power and Highly Integrated Ubiquitous Radars”.

Prof. Saponara collaborates as reviewer to the editorial board of about 60 international journals cited by Scopus and/or ISI of IEEE/IEE, Springer, Elsevier and other publishing houses:

IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement; IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics; IEEE Transactions on Computers; IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics; IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology; IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems; IEEE Sensors Journal; IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems; IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science; IEEE Communications Magazine; Circuits Systems & Signal Processing; Journal of Embedded Systems; VLSI Design; Electronics Letters; Journal of Real-Time Image Processing; Microprocessors and Microsystems; Digital Signal Processing; Journal of Circuits Systems and Computers; Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering; IEE Proceedings- Computer and Digital Techniques; Microelectronics Journal; Journal of System Architecture; Journal of Computer Networks and Communications; European Transactions on Telecommunications; ETRI Journal; Sensors; Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications; Measurement; International Journal of Embedded Systems; IET Signal Processing; Signal Processing: Image Communication; Image and Vision Computing; Int. Journal of Computing and Digital Systems; Sustainable Computing Informatics and Systems; Aerospace Science and Technology; Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research; IEEE Systems Journal; Journal of Systems and Software; Eurasip Journal on Applied Signal Processing; Energies; IET Image Processing; International Journal of Reconfigurable Computing; International Journal of Infrared and Millimeter Waves; Lecture Notes on Electrical Engineering; Journal of Multimedia; Microsystems Technologies; IEEE Journal on Emerging Technology and Selected Topics in Circuits and Systems; British Journal of Applied Science & Technology; Journal of Communication Systems; Journal of Wireless Communications; Designs; Ad Hoc Networks Journal; Future Generation Computer Systems; Journal of Geophysics and Engineering; MDPI Sustainability; International Journal of Electronics; IET Circuits, Devices & Systems

Prof. Saponara has contributed as distinguished invited speaker or as a member of the scientific committees to about 100 International Conferences

European Signal Proc. Conf. (EUSIPCO) 2004

IEEE Int. Conf. on Signals and Electronic Systems (ICSES) 2004

STreamingDay 2006

IEEE Euromicro Digital System Design 2008

IEEE Design Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) dal 2006 al 2016

IEEE Int. Microwave Workshop Symp. 2011

IEEE Radar Conference 2012

IEEE Asia-Pacific Conference on Applied Electromagnetics (APACE) 2012, 2014

IEEE Int. Conf. on Electronics Design, Systems and Applications (ICEDSA 2012)

IEEE International Conference on Power and Energy (PECON) 2012, 2014

IEEE Symposium on Industrial Electronics & Applications (ISIEA) 2012, 2013, 2014

IEEE Symposium on Wireless Technology & Applications (ISWTA) 2012, 2013, 2014

GE2012, GE2015, GE2016

International Conference on Modern Mathematical Methods and High Performance Computing in Science and Technology (M3HPCST 2015)

APPLEPIES 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

SPIE – Real Time Image and Video Processing 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

SPIE- VLSI Circuits and Systems 2013

SPIE Microtechnologies – Cyber Physical Systems 2015

IEEE IECON (Industrial Electronics Conference) 2013

22nd International Teletraffic Congress Specialist Seminar on Energy Efficient and Green Networking

IEEE ICWiSe (Int. Conf. on Wireless Sensor) 2013, 2014

IEEE CEAT (Clean Energy And Technology) 2013

IEEE RFM (RF and Microwave conference) 2013, 2015

IEEE ISCI (Int. Symposium on Computers and Informatics) 2013

IEEE ISCAIE (Int. Symposium on Computer Applications and Industrial Electronics) 2014

IEEE IST (Imaging Systems and Techniques) 2013, 2014, 2015

IEEE ICOCOE (Int. Conference on Communication and Computer Engineering) 2014, 2015, 2016

IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference – Asia (ISGT ASIA) (ISGT14)

IEEE World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IOT) 2014, 2015, 2016

IEEE ISTMET (Int. Symp. on Technology Management and Emerging Technology) 2014, 2015, 2016

IEEE Int. Conf. On Computer Communication And Control technologies 2014

IEEE CENCON (Conference on Energy Conversion) 2015

DPNOC (Design and Performance of Network on Chip) 2014, 2015

IEEE ICC 2016 SAC Internet of Things

GAMEPEC 2015

I2BM 2015, 2016

CCEAS2015 (Challenges on Connected and Embedded Automotive Systems Conference)

IEEE PRIME (PhD Research in Microelectronics) 2014, 2016

MBIDA 2014 (Mobile Networks for Biometric Data Analysis)

ICEECC2016

Modern Math. Methods and High Perf. Computing in Science & Technology (M3HPCST-2015)

IEEE Renewable Energy and Green Technology Int. Conference (REEGETECH) 2014 and 2015

IEEE ICEPIT (Int. Conference on Electronic Publishing and Information Technology) 2014

IEEE ICNC 2014 (Int. Conference on nanocomposite for engineering)

IEEE ICASSP (Int. Conference on Acoustic, Speech and Signal Processing) 2014, 2015, 2016

AR2BIO2015 (Advanced Research on Biotechnology and Biofuel)

ICEMIT 2015 (International Conference on Engineering Management and Industrial Technology)

ISySM 2015 (Int. Symposium on Science and Mathematics)

WoTBD 2015 (Intern. Symposium on Web of Things and Big Data)

PIAMSE 2015 (Progress in Applied Mathematics and Engineering)

SYMINTECH 2016 (Int. Symposium on Information and Internet Technology)

APPEIC (Applied Electromagnetic International Conference) 2015, 2016

MobiApps 2015 (Int. Workshop on Mobile Applications)

HIPEAC2016

IEEE WISP  (IEEE Workshop on Intelligent Signal Processing) 2015

IEEE ISCAS (IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems) 2016

IEEE EEEIC (IEEE International Conference on Environment and Electrical Engineering) 2015, 2016

IEEE I2MTC (IEEE International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference) 2015, 2016, 2017

ICC’17 SAC-7 IoT

IEEE SAS (Sensors Application Symposium) 2017

Awards

Prof. Saponara received several AWARDS for his scientific activity:

– GE 2007 conference: best presentation award for the work “Electronic Systems for High Data-rate and Reliable In-vehicle Communications”,

– IEEE PRIME 2006 conference, gold leaf for the work “Router IP Macrocell for Radiation Tolerant SpaceWire Networking”

– IEEE PRIME 2007 conference, bronze leaf for the work “Design, testing and prototyping of a software programmable I2C/SPI IP on AMBA bus”

– International Workshop Streaming Day 2005: best presentation award for the work “Adaptive Motion Estimation for High-efficiency and Real-time Video Coding”,

– Medical Technology Event 2011: 2o prize at the Element14 medical design award for the Health@Home prototype described in the work “Sensing Devices and Sensor Signal Processing for Remote Monitoring of Vital Signs in CHF Patients” published on the IEEE Trans. on Instrumentation and Measurement

– an abstract of the PhD activity of Prof. Saponara, entitled “Complexity Analysis, Algorithm and VLSI Architecture Design for Low-power Multimedia Systems” has been awarded by the European Design Automation Association (EDAA) and presented at the 1st EDAA PhD forum, IEEE DATE 2003

– In 2011 Prof. Saponara received the prize “Premio Giovane Ricercatore” from the Academic Senate of the University of Pisa for the results of his scientific activity in the period 2006-2010

– In May 2015 Prof. Saponara obtained from ELSEVIER the Outstanding Reviewer Status Award being

ElsevierOutstandingReviewCertificate

-In 2014 the project proposed by IngeniArs, with Prof. Saponara as chief technical officer,  has been awarded among the best 10 ideas at the StartCup 2015 competition in Tuscany

-In 2014 InegniArs, with Prof. Saponara as chief technical officer, has received from the EU the “Seal of Excellence” for the project proposal SIMPLE (Spacefibre IMPLementation & test Equipment)

-In 2016 best presentation award at IEEE IECON 2016 for the paper “Design exploration for millimeter-wave short-range industrial wireless communications”

-In the VQR 2004-2010 all the 3 works submitted by Prof. Saponara have been evaluated with the grade Excellent

VQR04-10

– In the VQR 2011-2014 all the 2 works submitted by Prof. Saponara have been evaluated with the grade Excellent

VQR11-14

Institutional offices and roles in Italian and foreign Universities and/or public and private institutions with scientific and/or technology transfer aims

Prof. Saponara represents the Department of Information Engineering in the governing bodies of MOVET (Centro d’Iniziativa su MOtori, VEicoli e Tecnologie) and UCAR (interuniversity Center for Automotive and Mobility Research involving Italian and German Universities).

In 2012 Prof. Saponara has been Marie Curie Research Fellow at the IMEC, Leuven, Belgium

Prof. Saponara has been also Expert Member since 2005 of the committee for the Italian professional habilitation at the role of Engineer for both the sectors Information Engineering (Elettronica) and Industrial Engineering (Ingegneria dei Veicoli).

Prof. Saponara is member since 2005 of the committee at the School of Engineering for the timetable and logistic planning

Prof. Saponara has been member of evaluation committees for research grants at post-graduate and post-PhD level and for University Assistant Professor at Università di Pisa and E-Campus University of Novedrate (Como).

Prof. Saponara is also scientific advisor for the Formula SAE project of University of Pisa

Prof. Saponara is also member of:

  • Consiglio Corso di Laurea e Commissioni di Esami di Laurea, Master Degree (Laurea Magistrale) in Ingegneria Robotica e dell’Automazione, University of Pisa
  • Consiglio Corso di Laurea e Commissioni di Esami di Laurea, Master Degree (Laurea Magistrale) in Ingegneria dei Veicoli, University of Pisa
  • Consiglio Corso di Laurea e Commissioni di Esami di Laurea, Bachelor (Laurea Triennale) and Master (Laurea Magistrale) Degrees in Ingegneria Elettronica, University of Pisa
  • Consiglio Corso di Laurea e Commissioni di Esami di Laurea, Bachelor Degree (Laurea Triennale) in Scienze Marittime e Navali at the Italian Naval Academy
  • Commissione Orientamento Bachelor (Laurea Triennale) and Master (Laurea Magistrale) Degrees in Ingegneria Elettronica, University of Pisa

He has been also president or member of evaluation committees of PhD students at University of Pisa (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014), Politecnico di Torino (2006, 2012, 2014), University of Tampere in Finland (2011), Indian Institute of Technology of Bangalore, India (2010).

Prof. Saponara is CTO (Chief Technical Officer), co-founder and member of the governing board of Ingeniars srl, a spin-off company of Pisa University

Within the IEEE (Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineering) Prof. Saponara is:

  • IEEE Senior Member
  • Member of the IEEE Special Interest Group on Internet of Things (IoT SIG SPS) for the Signal Processing Society
  • Member of the IEEE World Forum on IoT
  • Member of the IEEE technical committee TC-7 (Signals and Systems in Measurements) of the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society
  • Member of the IEEE technical committee TC-19 Imaging Systems Measurements of the Instrumentation and Measurement Society
  • Member of the IEEE Vehicular Technology/Communications Society joint Chapter Italy Section
  • Member of the organizing committee of the IEEE International School on Imaging (I2SI) of the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society
  • Chair of the special track “signal processing for multimedia” at IEEE DATE 2010, chair of the special track “Communication, Consumer and Multimedia Systems” at IEEE DATE from 2014 to 2016
  • Member of the IEEE Standard Association collaborating to the Working Groups (WG) of two standards:

IEEE P1876 standard WG “Networked Smart Learning Objects for Online Laboratories”

IEEE P1451.001 Standard WG “Recommended Practices for the Signal Treatment Applied to Smart Transducers”