German Valley: Fraunhofer IML presents the first prototype of the “Blockchain Device”

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Document logistics online and book legally secure: Fraunhofer IML presents the first prototype of the “Blockchain Device” that opens a new chapter in logistics.

With the “Blockchain Device”, scientists from Dortmund are presenting a future-oriented prototype for monitoring temperature-sensitive goods such as food, drugs or vaccines along global supply chains. It is the first device development by the European Blockchain Institute and the prototype of a series of blockchain-based developments made in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Experts expect large parts of logistics to be fully digitized in the next three years. »The digitization of process and supply chains and with the help of artificial intelligence is not only heralding a new age in logistics. Digital platforms will become the central linchpin of a coming silicon economy, ”the directors of the Fraunhofer IML, Prof. Michael Henke and Prof. Michael ten Hompel, agree.

The European Blockchain Institute at Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund will play a decisive role in this development. »This is where the further development of the first prototype into a series of blockchain devices will take place. In the future, they will actively negotiate via smart contracts, trigger transactions and book payments. This means that every action can be clearly identified and tracked via the blockchain network, ”emphasizes Michael Henke.

The “Blockchain Device” is a completely new development, starting with the computer hardware and the software of the temperature sensor to the blockchain client. Only 9 mm high, it can be inserted into a standard container like a plug-in card. It has 5G-compatible communication, a high-resolution ePaper display (1440 x 1072 pixels) and a number of sensors (temperature, acceleration, position). The battery life is more than 14 days in continuous operation and more than two years in low-power operation.

With this blockchain-enabled IoT device, real-time data acquisition and autonomous real-time control of supply chains become a reality. The secure integration of physical and monetarily relevant processes in a blockchain-based ecosystem ensures horizontal and vertical networking. Position and sensor data document the seamless monitoring of the transport chain, including the conditions to be observed. In addition, the device is “IDS ready”, ie prepared for implementation in the International Data Space.

“We are following the change from the Internet of Things to the Internet of Values,” says Prof. Michael ten Hompel, managing director of the Fraunhofer IML, who presented the “Blockchain Device” on the occasion of the award of the Innovation Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia 2020 in the “Honorary Award” category «Introduced. “With the help of blockchain technology, not only data, but real values ​​will soon be negotiated and booked in a legally and process-secure manner. In the near future, not only in logistics: no blockchain — no business ”.

Hardware of the “blockchain device”

  • Processor: STM32MP1 with powerful dual A7 core for Linux operation + ultra-low-power Cortex M4 processor for years of runtime
  • Linux operating system that is used for the blockchain and communicates with the M4 Core via the inter-processor communication controller, which is responsible for collecting the sensor data and user input. In this way, the Linux OS can be operated in standby mode to save energy in large areas and is only activated for events.
  • Optional WLAN / Bluetooth interface (2.4 Ghz)
  • Communication via Cat-M1 + NB-IOT modem
  • E-paper HD display with 1440 x 1072 pixels
  • Operation with up to 8 buttons
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Battery with energy / charge management for several years of operation
  • Temperature & humidity sensor outside and temperature sensor inside. Modular expandable with additional sensors
  • Blockchain Framework Tendermint (Open Source)

The project to set up the European Blockchain Institute in North Rhine-Westphalia is funded with around 7.6 million euros from the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is closely interlinked with the “Silicon Economy” project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.


German Valley: Fraunhofer IML presents the first prototype of the “Blockchain Device” was originally published in FrankfurtValley on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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