Pervasive Systems research group

Our research group specializes in networked smart sensing systems, also called Pervasive Systems. We are a multidisciplinary team of passionate researchers in the vibrant realm of Pervasive Computing, wireless systems, and sensor data analytics. Committed to addressing societal challenges, we harness cutting-edge and foundational technologies to drive impactful solutions. Our group, comprised of dedicated staff and around 25 PhD. students, collaboratively engages in diverse national and international projects. We regularly contribute to conferences and  journals, consistently pushing the boundaries of knowledge and technology.

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What are Pervasive Systems? Pervasive systems are systems composed of a network of collaborative sensing, computational and reasoning components that are highly embedded in the environment and actively – yet unobtrusively – interact with it. Embedding millions of networked smart sensing objects into an environment creates a digital skin which senses its immediate space. These massively distributed networks of smart objects communicate with one another, analysing and interpreting the immense amount of low-level spatio-temporal information about the physical objects and the environment, in order to produce a representation of the contextual situation and the existing environmental conditions. 

Situated at the core of the Internet of Things, our research has high societal and economic impacts in various applications in the area of Smart Urban, Smart Life, and Smart Industry. This includes domains such as environmental monitoring, ecology, ambient assisted living, agriculture, transport and mobility, smart industry, supply chain management, wellbeing, health, sports, asset management, and predictive maintenance. Our system-oriented research is inspired by real problems, which makes multi-disciplinary collaboration natural.

Research challenges. For pervasive systems to become reality and effective, we need to address several research challenges. Such distributed networks of smart objects cooperate to support various applications as unobtrusively as possible (transparently, accurately, natural interacting), making efficient use of scarce resources independent of growth (scalability and interoperability), in such a way that the system adapts to a dynamically changing environment (evolvability, adaptability), and that operates and gives results that can be relied upon (trust, privacy, security). Mainly due to resource constraints, devices and connections are inherently unreliable, yet the system should be able to provide reliable services (quality, fault-tolerance, autonomy).

Vision and mission

Our vision. We foresee a future in which the physical and digital worlds are intertwined, and that will be founded on data, connectivity, and intelligence. We believe that seamless integration of computing with the physical world via sensors and actuators and computing systems can lead to a sustainable world.

Our mission. Delivering fundamental smart sensing solutions for practical problems to provide the society higher living standards, greater safety, more comfort and efficiency in a sustainable world. This can be reflected into relevant application areas including smart transportation, distributed energy systems, smart health care and environmental monitoring. 

How do we achieve this? The essence of our work is to create environments saturated with sensors, computers and wireless communications that gracefully support the needs of individuals and societies. This requires a holistic approach, which combines various innovations in various disciplines, while simultaneously creating the required interaction points between them. We believe that a combination of basic research and close collaboration with industry provides the best conditions for tackling exciting challenges in pervasive sensing, networking, and computing. Many of the key building blocks of this vision are technologies such as smart sensing, wearable devices, wireless networks and IoT platforms.


Expertise. We perform world-leading research in networked computing systems and develop groundbreaking innovative and smart sensing solutions in our focus application domains. The combination of our leadership in smart sensing systems, wireless networking technologies, and embedded AI expertise is what makes us unique. We address the following research themes:


Our approach. We perform research on the design, development, deployment and evaluation of mobile and pervasive computing systems and their applications. We usually employ experimental methodology in our research. Through the prototyping of novel and emerging applications, we discover new requirements, architectures, protocols and techniques for future networks and systems. Adopting such a pragmatic and experimental approach not only yields precise research results and insights, but also enables more direct dissemination of research results in both the academic and industrial research communities. 

 Our methodology is typical of the following: 

We work closely with partners that provide real-world settings for our studies. We receive support from a wide range of local sources including NWO, EFRO, EU-level sources including European Commission, as well as directly from industry.

PS is part of EDGE - the Centre for Networked Systems and Intelligence. EDGE unites close to a hundred researchers from the University of Twente and partners across sectors, driving cutting-edge research in computing, communications, and sensing technologies. We bridge academia, industry, and government, facilitating knowledge exchange and collaboration. 


Video impression
Science Café Enschede: Paul Havinga
SenSafety UT with subs
Robots of the Deep: Diving Drones Scour the Silent World – Futuris

Robots of the deep movie is copyright 2014 Euronews/European Commission

Good Vibrations: Monitoring Machine Health – Futuris

Good vibration movie is copyright 2014 Euronews/European Commission

Echoes From The Deep – futuris

Echoes from the deep movie is copyright 2013 Euronews/European Commission

Industrial IoT