Large scale traceability of low-cost sensor networks: statistical methods and in-line calibration systems



Andrea Prato

INRiM - National Institute of Metrological Research

Francesca Romana

Francesca Romana Pennecchi

INRiM - National Institute of Metrological Research


Gianfranco Genta

Politecnico di Torino


Traceability and calibration methods on large scale for low-cost analogue and digital sensors, mainly based on MEMS/NEMS technology, are a metrological challenge due to the huge quantities of sensors actually produced. Technical performance and reliability of these sensors are continuously increasing, while costs are driving down, therefore industry is moving from testing and calibrating every device, towards alternative methods to reduce manufacturing costs while delivering statistically acceptable levels of performance and reliability. Manufacturers see value in a traceability chain to the national laboratories, however, the currently used reference devices and testing protocols are not always compatible with their requirements. As a consequence, the possibility to provide traceability and acceptable levels of reliability to large scale low-cost analogue and digital sensors and sensor networks, based on statistical approaches, sampling methods or calibration systems on the manufacturer’s production line, are a present priority for industry as well as a needed requirement for end-users in actual applications.


Andrea Prato is a researcher at the National Institute of Metrological Research (INRIM, Italy), within the Applied Metrology and Engineering Division. PhD in Metrology and MSc degree in Physics, his main metrology and research areas are Force, Hardness, Gravimetry, Vibrations, Acoustics and mechanical properties of materials. He participated into national and international joint research projects (EMPIR, PRIN, Industrial) and is Adjunct Professor at Politecnico di Torino for the courses “Experimental statistics and mechanical measurement” and “Sound Engineering”.

Francesca Romana Pennecchi, is a researcher at the National Institute of Metrological Research (INRIM, Italy), within the Applied Metrology and Engineering Division. She holds a European PhD in "Metrology: Measuring Science and Technique" from the Politecnico of Torino (Italy) and she was assigned with research grants at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL, UK) and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, USA). She is member of CITAC, Eurachem/CITAC Measurement Uncertainty and Traceability Working Group and ISO/TC 69/SC 6/WG 7 Statistical methods to support measurement uncertainty evaluation. She is INRIM member of the Steering Committee of the MATHMET EMN and co-chair of the ENBIS Special Interest Group on Measurement Uncertainty. Participating into several research projects (EMRP, EMPIR, IUPAC/CITAC, industrial), her main research activity is focussed on mathematical and statistical methods for uncertainty evaluation, regression analysis, interlaboratory comparisons data elaboration and conformity assessment.

Gianfranco Genta, received the MSc Degree in "Mathematical Engineering" from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, in 2005 and the PhD Degree in "Metrology: Measuring Science and Technique" from Politecnico di Torino in 2010. He is currently Assistant Professor in Tenure-track (RTD-B) at the Department of Management and Production Engineering (DIGEP) of the Politecnico di Torino, where he teaches "Experimental Statistics and Mechanical Measurement" and "Quality and measurements management lab". He is Research Affiliate of CIRP (The International Academy for Production Engineering) and Fellow of A.I.Te.M. (Associazione Italiana Tecnologie Manifatturiere). He is author and coauthor of more than 60 publications on international journals and conference proceedings. His current research focuses on Industrial Metrology, Quality Engineering and Technological Surface Characterisation.

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