8 August 2013

Goodbye to overheated mobile phones:
Researchers at Graz University of Technology shape the mobile telephone of the future

The "Dragon" EU project focuses on technologies for future generations of wireless communication

"Glowing ears" after lengthy telephone calls will soon be a thing of the past – partly thanks to researchers at Graz University of Technology and the Graz-based branch of Telecommunications Research Center Vienna, FTW Graz. Scientists from all over Europe joined forces in the "Dragon" EU project to anticipate what will be required of mobile telecommunication technologies in the future, and to find the solutions. Architecture, chip design and transmitting unit components were priorities in the work performed by the Graz-based group of scientists – with a special focus on energy efficiency with battery performance in mind.

Cheaper yet more powerful, smarter, smaller and more user-friendly – few sectors are developing at such breathtaking speed as mobile telephones and the technology behind them. Ever increasing data transmission rates call for new ways of reducing energy consumption per data bit sent or received – for two reasons: first, to save energy, and second to avoid thermal issues, such as the mobile phone overheating.

A race against time

Scientists and developers have to prepare well ahead of time. "Years in advance, we consider the requirements that future mobile phone generations will have to meet; we try to anticipate the development of user demands and think about what will be technically feasible", says Gernot Kubin, Head of the Signal Processing and Speech Communication Laboratory at Graz University of Technology. The "Dragon" EU project kicked off in 2009 with the aim of developing new design methodologies, innovative systems and circuit solutions for mobile phone systems in the nano-range. "Four years ago, we started to plan the concrete solutions that will be required as from 2015 and defined by the international standardisation authorities. The people involved in the project worked towards a standard that has yet to be finalised", Kubin says, explaining the challenges.

Battery performance instead of blazing mobiles

The priority for the scientists from Graz – besides the department of Graz University of Technology, FTW Graz, a competence centre with TU Graz participation was also involved – was the transmitter unit, and in particular architecture, chip design and components. "Flexibility is of the essence here. Simple implementation in future, new semi-conductor technologies are a general objective of all developments in the field of mobile telephony – otherwise innovations will turn out to be short-lived", Kubin says. The group of Graz-based scientists managed to meet all of the Dragon project's scientific objectives. A reduced number of individual components in the transmitting unit allows more flexible and more favourably priced production, while at the same time facilitating the digitisation of a greater number of functionalities that can in future be transferred to even smaller chips. "Our main focus was on energy efficiency to boost battery performance. The systems we've developed for the transmitting units of future mobile phone generations mean that the mobile phone won't get so hot any more – which in turn means extended battery life and no loss of energy. And your ears will stay cool", says Christian Vogel of FTW Graz.

European "dragon" in Graz

Two young scientists, Katharina Hausmair and Shuli Chi, took part in the project within the framework of their doctoral theses at the Institute for Signal Processing and Speech Communication. "Dragon" stands for Design methods for Radio Architectures GOing Nanoscale and was funded under the Seventh EU Framework Programme from 2009 until summer 2013; the project was coordinated by Technikon Forschungs- und Planungsgesellschaft in Villach, Carinthia. In addition to Graz University of Technology and FTW Graz, other partners in the project included Ericsson, Infineon Technologies, the universities of Lund and Leuven and the Belgian imec research institute. Cooperation was particularly close between the Signal Processing and Speech Communication Laboratory of Graz University of Technology and FTW Graz. The COMET K1 Centre "Telecommunications Research Center Vienna" established a successful branch in Graz in part thanks to its involvement in "Dragon".

Further Information

Images available free of charge at subject to citing of the stated sources.

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Gernot Kubin
Signal Processing and Speech Communication Laboratory
E-Mail: gernot.kubin@tugraz.at
Tel.: +43 (0) 316 873 4430
Mobile: +43 (0) 699 1072 1996

Priv.-Doz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Christian Vogel
Telecommunicaion Research Centre Vienna
E-Mail: vogel@ftw.at
Tel +43 (0) 316 873 4383
Mobile +43 (0) 664 8269862

Home TUGraz.at | Impressum |  ©2004 BDR TUGraz.at All rights reserved last Update 08.08.2013