Reconfigurable metamaterial surfaces for 6G networks

Reconfigurable metamaterial surfaces for 6G networks

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A European project is aiming to develop reconfigurable surfaces to reflect wireless signals in new ways.

The €6.5m Reconfigurable Intelligent Sustainable Environments (RISE-6G) project will design, prototype and test smart and energy-sustainable technological advances based on reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS).

These surfaces may be diode-based antennas or metamaterials for coating objects in the environment, such as walls, ceilings, mirrors and appliances, and they will operate as reconfigurable reflectors or transceivers for massive access when equipped with active radio-frequency (RF) elements.

The reconfigurable surfaces would be able to provide more capacity to a user then they need it, with controlled energy consumption and circumscribed EMF to avoid interference from unconnected devices and to minimize their impact on the people around them.

These will be trialled at a new factory for Fiat with Industry 4.0 principles and at a French railway station with SNCF.

 “Our mission is to enable this disruptive new concept as a service for the wireless environment by dynamically controlling wireless communication for local, brief and energy-efficient, high-capacity communications,” said Emilio Calvanese Strinati, RISE-6G project coordinator and 6G future wireless research director at CEA-Leti. “The system also will ensure energy efficiency, localization accuracy and privacy guarantees against eavesdroppers, while accommodating specific regulations on spectrum use and restrained electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions.”

The project, which includes NEC for equipment and network operators Orange and  Telecom Italia, will design key hardware building blocks and the integration in the next generation of wireless networks, including 6G. Researchers include Chalmers University, Aalborg University, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and the University of Nottingham

“RISE-6G will lend itself to a revolutionary flow of the current network paradigm by contributing with novel technologies and strategic business plans that will have a remarkable societal impact in the near future,” said Calvanese Strinati.

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