GRETA: a research project for Internet of Things

GRETA is an Italian research project funded by MIUR (prot. 2010WHY5PR, PRIN 2010/11).

GRETA aims at studying a distributed system for identification, localization, tracking and monitoring in IoT indoor scenarios, where the tags are:

  1. localizable with sub-meter precision even in indoor scenarios ⇒ ultra-wideband (UWB) localization techniques
  2. without batteries ⇒ energy harvesting + passive backscattering transmission
  3. made with recyclable materials, to be integrated in goods, clothes and packing ⇒ “green electronics” with recyclable, possibly organic materials


The development of information technologies in contemporary society has driven the pervasive diffusion of wireless systems in the environment. In this context, the Internet of Things (IoT), the Ubiquitous Electronics, and the Autonomous Logistics paradigms have gained in popularity. Moreover, new systems employing a large number of spatially distributed low-cost nodes (tags) have recently found application in heterogeneous fields such as logistics (e.g., tracking of goods in supply and distribution chains), security (e.g., localization and tracking of authorized people or goods in areas under surveillance), environmental monitoring, and health-care (e.g., monitoring of patients, medical or paramedical personnel, medicines, and health-care equipments). In all these scenarios, tags are required to be identifiable, localizable and capable of sensing physical quantities with high accuracy. Traditionally, these functionalities have been separately offered by different wireless technologies such as radiofrequency identification (RFID), wireless sensor network (WSN), and real time locating systems (RTLS).

The possibility to integrate all the aforementioned capabilities in a unique system that relies on low-cost devices would tremendously extend the range of applications. However, to overcome the existing technologies shortcomings, such an integration requires to identify innovative solutions and an ex-novo system design. Moreover, the compatibility with the environment will be a key future characteristic that the employed electronic circuits should observe.

Starting from these considerations, the GRETA project focuses on innovative solutions and technologies aimed at the realization of a distributed system for identification, localization, tracking and monitoring in indoor and outdoor scenarios, based on environmentally friendly materials. In this context, tags are required to be:

  • localizable with sub-meter precision even in indoor scenarios or in presence of obstacles;
  • small-sized (with an area in the order of a few square centimeters) and lightweight (i.e, without cumbersome batteries);
  • eco-compatible (i.e., made with recyclable materials as paper);
  • energy-autonomous;
  • easy integrable in goods, clothes and packages;
  • low-cost to permit the employment of several tags in the environment;
  • capable of sensing physical quantities of the environment.

DURATION: February 2013 – January 2016

PROJECT COORDINATOR: Prof. Marco Chiani, Università di Bologna


  • Università di Bologna (Prof. D. Dardari, Prof. A. Costanzo, Prof. A. Romani)
  • Università dell’Aquila (Prof. F. Santucci)
  • Università di Ferrara (Prof. A. Conti)
  • Università di Pavia (Prof. M. Bozzi)
  • Università di Perugia (Prof. L. Roselli)