nanosync Flies High


Synchronous flying of hundreds of drones requires that position and time be precisely controlled, not to mention the synchrous light show. With GPS on-board drones, both time and position information is available.  However, Intel, to our knowledge has not published which mechanisms are used, and the data sheet of this un-released product (Shooting Star) discloses very little.

Using our imagination, we can speculate on several possible scenarios.

  1. Autonomous flying of independent tracks uploaded to each drone.
    • All drones must operate on a fairly precise time base, which could be derived from a crystal-controlled on-board clock, or be based on the very precise 1 pps pulse derived from a GPS receiver chip.
    • Each drone has an autonomous autopilot with respect to the pre-defined track, correcting in real time for position and attitude shifts due to wind.
  2. The remote control could provide offsets of position and attitude parameters, relative to the pre-defined track. The tracks would need to have individual pre-defined take-off and landing trajectories. The fact that the system can be controlled by one “pilot”, would seem to indicate this type of implementation.
  3. The drones could be interconnected via a mesh network which propogates real-time position of adjacent drones, and navigates based on pre-programmed relative positions and tracks.  Our guess is that this would be an extremely complex, potentially unreliable implementation.

This technology demonstration by Intel, highlights the huge potential for nanosynched systems.

We invite you to look at our visionary presentation, highlighting the syncrhonized flying and many other applications.

Visions of a Fully Synched IoT

In 2008, DELTA started work on the concept of “Virtual Taxi”, which not only was an expanded version of “Uber” (which formally launched  operations in 2011), but also had visions of incorporating all private and public transportation in Denmark, thus optimizing capacity utilization of all available transport and reducing energy consumption.

DELTA Virtual taxi (in Danish)

The idea was presented as part of an idea competition to the Danish Transportation Ministry in 2009 under the title of “Green Transportation”, but did not succeed in winning funding.

Uber ceased operations in Denmark in April 2017.


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Final EUDP Project Report Submitted

The final report for the completion of the successful EUDP Project “Improved Wind Turbine Efficiency using Synchronized Sensors was submitted on October 3, 2016.

The main conclusions of the project are provided here:

Project Report Excerpt:

EUDP Final Report

Other relevant documents produced during the project:

Article in Elektronik & Data

Article in Ingeniøren

Description of InFlow Sensor

Brief History of Time: Poul Henning Kamp

Acoustic and Noise Applications: Helge Aagaard Madsen

Field Measurements on Wind Turbines: Tomas Rosenberg Hansen, Siemens Wind Power

IoT: Rethinking Reliability, Anders Mynster, DELTA

Applications of battery-operated GPS synchronized sensors for Wind Turbine Measurement

Acoustic measurement techniques

Off-shore synchronized electrical measurements




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Nanosync Makes Front Page News

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-08-35-59Featured on the cover of the Danish electronics magazine “Elektronik & Data”, the article describes exciting new applications and future scenarios when the entire world becomes synchronised.  Read the article here (Only in Danish):

DELTA can provide measurement services using this low-power portable, precision technology as well as licensing/partnership information.

Contact Carsten Thomsen,

The project was partially funded by EUDP.


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Successful Field Test

Five microphones and associated Syncboards (GPS synched data acquisition units) were placed over a range of 100 to 400 m from Wind Turbine #4 at Flø in Denmark.FloTurbine with PotatoMic


In addition to logging turbine noise using GRAS 7 mm microphones, a flare gun was used to demonstrate the synchronization capabilities of the autonomous GPS Synchronized Sync Boards. A total of ten GBytes of data including turbine noise, background noise, and synthetic test signals, were logged by the five boards.  In addition separate instrumentation systems logged the turbine and metrological parameters along with standardized acoustic measurements.

In the screen shot below,  the upper graph shows 10 minutes of acoustic data with the four flare gun shots in the middle.  Each shot consist of two detonations, the actual firing of the flare out of the gun, and then the subsequent explosion of the flare some 50 m up in the air.

The zoomed large middle graph has a 50 s long x axis and shows all four shots. The five plots from bottom to top cover distances from about 100 to 400 m from the turbine. The time offsets are due to the sound propagation delay.

10s air shots

The screen shot below shows the first shot in greater detail with a 2 second x axis on the middle graph.

First shot 2 s axis

Finally, a synthetized 4 kHz tone generated by a loudspeaker at the base of the turbine is clearly seen in the FFT Spectrum (50,000 point transform) in the bottom plot in the screen shot below. This is measured at a distance of 400 m from the turbine.

4kHz at 400 m

(The vertical scale is uncalibrated).

Looking at the waveform plot above the spectrum the tone is clearly buried in noise, but the high resolution FFT transform is able to dig it out of the noise.

The data obtained in this test on June 19, 2016 clearly demonstrates the capabilities of the stand alone data acquisition units (Sync Boards)

It is our goal, outside the scope of this EUDP sponsored research project, to perform data mining and analysis on these data sets to see if new insights can be obtained.

The nanosync demonstration board has been tested:

  1. Against existing off-the-shelf precision synchronized systems provided by CIM A/S and has shown excellent absolute time alignment.
  2. Successfully operated on an operating the Nord Tank 500 test turbine blade at the DTU Department of Wind Energy in Risø, Denmark.
  3. And validated the synchronization capabilities in practical (potato) field measurements  using five microphones as seen above.

The demonstration Syncboard has shown that it opens up a new range of possibilities thanks to its small size (smart phone size), high quality battery-operated instrumentation, which potentially can be produced at low cost compared to existing solutions. It has shown that it can open research opportunities in wind power as well as other energy related industries.  In addition, it has a broad range of applications outside wind and energy, and if brought to market as a commercial product sees a significant opportunity for high volume which can help drive down the price.

This experiments marks the conclusion of this EUDP sponsored project.  It is our goal to continue to spread the news of the successful implementation after the end of the project since it clearly demonstrates a price performance breakthrough in high performance instrumentation systems, as well as opening new platforms for innovation.

As a demonstration project, it is our hope that our efforts will contribute to finding partners who will carry this concept further to fully commercialized products. Our are welcome to contact DELTA or our other partners to discussion future cooperation in terms of commercialization or additional research projects.

Our thanks to  EUDP and the research partners

  • DTU Wind Energy
  • GRAS A/S
  • CIM A/S
  • Siemens Wind Power

Carsten Thomsen, Senior Specialist, Project Manager, DELTA

1 July 2016

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nanosync in the Press

2016-06-17 Ing artikelNanosync was featured in the Danish engineering newspaper, “Ingeniøren” June 10, 2016. (only in Danish).

The title the article is “Precision Timing opens for more innovation for the Internet of Things”

You can read the article online here.

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IoT 2.0 Seminar Presentations

…bringing precision synchronization to the world of IoT.


Image used by permission from Vattenfall.

The IoT seminar on May 26, 2016 was kicked off with Morten Wagner, head of Idemolab at DELTA who talked about the future of IoT, including a lot of current examples.


This was following by Anders Mynster Senior Consultant, Test & Consultancy, DELTA, speaking about the challenges of making wireless devices work in the real world:

His presentation is available here: IoT: Rethinking Reliability


Poul-Henning Kamp then presented a brief history of time…and how it is an essential part of our society.


His presentation can be seen here.

Carsten Thomsen, DELTA’s project manager of the EUDP project presented an overview of timing technologies, and how these create a platform for dramatic new applications.

His presentation can be seen here.

Bjarke Dahl-Madsen from CIM presented practical field test results benchmarking the nanosync board up against off the shelf solutions.


This was followed by a presentation by Tomas Rosenberg Hansen from Siemens Wind Power about a wide range of potential applications for the nanosync board:


His presentation can be seen here.

Helge Aagaard Madsen from DTU Wind Energy then presented a brief overview of acoustics and noise research on wind turbines. His presentation can be seen here:


and was followed by Uwe Schmidt Paulsen also from DTU Wind energy with a presentation of the In-Flow Sensor developed as part of the project.

The presentation is available here:


along with energy harvesting mechanisms:



A total of about 20 highly specialized individuals from the user community and instrumentation industry participated in this in-depth seminar, that not only talked theory, but down to earth practice.

The seminar was sponsored in part by



DTU Wind Energy Department



Siemens Wind Power


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Final Call: Internet of Things Seminar

Please register no later than 8 a.m. Wednesday May 25, 2016.

Learn how precision synchronization will help make our world dramatically more energy efficient, and open for a wide range of exciting new applications.

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New Speaker for IoT 2.0 Symposium May 26

With millions of sensors collecting data worldwide, how do you ensure reliability, quality, and security?

Anders P. Mynster (Senior Consultant, DELTA)  will speak of his experiences with real world conditions, including EMC (Electromagnetic Compatability) and the multiple of other issues that affect transducers, electronics, and wireless data transmission.

Part of having “good” data, is not only its accuracy, but that its time stamps are correct.  When deriving time information from GPS satellites, EMC, signal transmissions paths, including multipath, are issues that must be addressed and backup mechanisms provided.

The full, expanded program is available here, along with a link to register for the free seminar.

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Internet of Things Version 2: It’s about Time and Energy

IoT 2: It’s about Time–and energy savings

IoT builds on a simple idea:

Everything, everywhere, connected to everything.

It is a “platform” that enables innovation. And exactly what can you do with this technology?   The answer is almost the outrageously simple “anything”:

  • You can monitor traffic, weather, pollution, noise
  • You can control aircraft, drones, autonomous cars
  • You can track people animals and their behavior.

IoT Version 2: with Precise Time.

When each IoT 2 Device can stamp its data with precise time, a wealth of new applications is possible with resulting time and energy savings.

  • Crowd-sourced acoustic “radar”: If all smartphones had precision timing, the collection of their audio recordings at a crowded place could be used to focus on a single persons speech, or detect where a sudden sound, such and a shot or explosion came from.
  • Crowd sourced 3D video. Simultaneously recorded photos and videos could automatically be synchronized to create a true time base of events, seems from different angles.
  • Always in motion traffic: If all vehicles’ time and position are accurately known, they can in theory be interleaved so no collisions occur. Current traffic lights do this at long intervals, but in theory, cars could be interleaved at high speed through an intersection, without ever happen to stop.

IoT 2: A platform for the unpredictable.

The history of technology shows that the only sure prediction about the main applications of new technologies is that we will be surprised.

  • Electricity was initially seen as a way of providing light.
  • The first computers were used for military and accounting applications.
  • The first big Internet applications were a bookstore (Amazon), flea market (eBay) and porno service.

IoT has deep roots in the instrumentation and processes control industries. Distributed measurement and control systems have origins that go back over 30 years but have lived a quiet existence due to the “nerdish” nature of their systems.

With the advent of inexpensive, distributed computers, these technologies have seen a re-birth, in that the wider computer and app based industries are seeing huge potentials. What is new now, compared to 30 years ago, is the low cost, size, and power consumption per device, which makes the world wide deployment of thousands or millions of devices realistic and relevant.

The platform provided by IoT gives access to a huge worldwide audience of app dreamers and developers, targeting the technology to both niche, and broad applications. Now, distributed data acquisition and control is no longer the exclusive domain of specialized engineers.

I will only mention a few “totally crazy” ideas to illustrate potential applications, realistic or not:

  • Remote “control” of soccer players: Vibrations or electrical impulses will direct the receiving player to speed up, change direction, etc. based on thought switches from the player about the pass the ball.
  • Slot-based, always-in-motion traffic: Pre-assigned slots for autonomous vehicles to drive from point A to B without stopping. Motorway merging, crossing through intersections is done with pre-assigned, precisely timed slots, ensuring optimal resource use (i.e. bumper to bumper high-speed traffic) with no collisions.
  • Micro-control of sway of large buildings, based on real time monitoring of wind and motion fed to multiple small servo systems on the buildings to stabilize them. (This already used for advanced aircraft designs).

Time is money, money is energy.

Time is almost taken for granted as an underlying technology in the modern industrialized society. It governs not only the scheduling of our daily lives, but plays a critical role in essential infrastructures such a communications, power generation and distribution, traffic and transportation, and scientific research. Time scheduling affects the peak capacities of these systems, their total average throughput, , reliability, as well as determines the huge inefficiencies with associated with queues.

A society with better synchronized processes, can make tremendous reductions in energy consumption, particularly in energy intensive industries such as the transportation sector. In addition, poor timing and queuing has enormous indirect costs in time wasted by individuals stuck in traffic jams, waiting for on-line computer transactions, and lost productivity due to delays in physical and electronic transactions.

There are huge potential advantages from orders of magnitude more precise synchronization (to the sub second or sum millisecond level) where this translates into significant energy savings.

  • Traffic today is slowly synchronized by traffic lights.  When traffic systems near saturation, the delays grow dramatically.  Just a 10 % increase in traffic volume may result in a complete “stop” of traffic. With precise synchronization, cars, trucks and airplanes can use the roads, highways, and airways more efficiently thereby reducing the need for expensive infrastructure expansion of new highways and airports.
  • Airports are an excellent example of huge areas allocated to queuing, both for passengers and freight. The whole process of passing through an airport needs to be re-thought in terms of synchronization to make it a frictionless, efficient process from home to “Fast your seatbelt” in the aircraft. In practice, current huge airports provide little “value add” to the travel experience.
  • Precision synchronization is also a mechanism to enable better resource allocation. Ride sharing mechanisms, coupled with synchronization, enable higher efficiency in resource (road “time-space slots”) usage.   Since the majority of cars in the western world only carry one passenger, (and taxis often only “one half passenger”)  a complete re-thinking of this paradigm could give dramatic results.   Increasing this to two passengers, would remove most traffic jams, reduce travel time dramatically, and not only decrease energy consumption significantly, and save billions of dollars in infrastructure investments.
    • Imagine the energy and resource waste if aircraft only flew with 25% of full capacity.   But this waste is accepted on our public roads today!

Security, Safety, Reliability and Privacy.

Since IoT system can span the globe, and monitor and control critical systems, the Security is critical. Uncontrolled access can be a major challenge.  In addition, since many systems involve safety critical and society essential infrastructure, the safety of such system must meet a high standard, and robust backup or fallback mechanisms must be defined.  Obviously, such systems must also have a very high standard of reliability to give the promised efficiencies. Finally, the wealth of personal and corporate data that the flow on such a network must be carefully guarded to prevent “Big Brother” misuse of data.

The smartphone as an example of IoT 2: What, when, where, why.

The smartphone is today’s most visible IoT device. It knows both “Time” and “Place”, (“When” and “Where”) and has a lot of sensors that can see, feel, and hear, (the “What”), as well as record these data.

From a layman’s perspective, Time is something that we take for granted. We don’t think about how accurate it is, and what that accuracy means in our daily life.

It is time that allows us to determine the sequence of events, and thus better understand the causes and relationships between events. It helps us answer the question “Why”.

The precision with which we “know the correct time” has a huge impact on what the IoT can be used for. –and don’t be fooled, when the 7 o’clock news start on your TV, it will arrive on your home screen about 8 seconds later than 7.00.00, depending where you are and how you are connected. As a counter point, the Apple watch shows the correct time within 50 ms.

A layman’s background about time setting.

Smartphones can easily drift several seconds in the course of a day, so time stamps on photos taken by different smartphones of the same scene at the “same time” can show events in the wrong order! Thus you wouldn’t be able to determine which picture was taken first!

Occasionally in the course of a day, a smartphone may “set its watch” to internet time. This means that your time may suddenly jump forward or backwards! If your clock is set backward, the same time can occur twice the same day, or if it is set forward, there will be a gap of times “that do not exist”. This phenomenon is no different than when you adjust the time of a mechanical or electronic watch. This may seem insignificant to you, but computer systems have crashed due to leap seconds being introduced!

If your time is not correct, you may miss a plane or train. If time is not known precisely, cellular phone systems, the internet, and smart power grids, may break down. If the time stamps on financial transactions are not the same on different banks systems, there may occur “out-of-order”, resulting in overdrafts of accounts for a few microseconds, overdrafts which can trigger alarms, payment stops, or huge interest payments.

Therefore, the above systems rely on extremely accurate time.

In the realm of science and research, precise time plays a fundamental role. To analyze the complex interactions of a diesel engine, or the vibration of an aircraft wing, data must be measured at precisely known times on different points of the structure, in order to properly understand the behavior and mathematically model it.

Precise time comes from highly precise atomic clocks whose time information is distributed by the internet and GPS.   When the time information is transmitted by the web, large delays can and will occur, and these can be corrected for to some extent.

GPS, which is primarily known for location information, uses an extremely precise clock to make this possible. Over the surface of the globe, this clock is synchronized within about 50 ns, which is remarkable considering that light travels about 17 meters in this short period of time.  The magic of GPS providing such precise time distribution over such great distances is a modern marvel of engineering and science, using both Einstein’s specific and general relativity theories.

It is this precise GPS clock, called the 1 pps (pulse per second) clock that makes IoT Version 2 possible: Precisely synchronized global sensors.

Start your imagination!


Carsten Thomsen

Senior Specialist, DELTA

Carsten has a broad range of experience in the instrumentation and technology industry as Division Manager at Brüel & Kjær, Vice President of Engineering at National Instruments (Austin, Texas) and Director of Engineering at DELTA.

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Free Seminar: Nanosynchronization and IoT (Internet of Things)


IoT is booming as the next hot thing, and “nanosynchronization” will set off an avalanche of new, mind-blowing applications.

Join us on 26 May, 2016 from 10.00 to 14.30 for a look deep into the crystal ball of the Internet of Things (IoT), and how it is impacted by nanosynchronization. Come and hear about the vision of the future, along with real, down-to-earth discussions and technology demonstrations.

Using GPS time, it is possible to synchronize sensors and actuators anywhere on earth with 50 to 100 ns precision.

This has amazing potential applications:

  • Where? Source determination
    • Synthetic directional arrays to determine location of
      • noise sources
      • explosions/gun shots
      • Lightning strikes
      • Electromagnetic pulses
      • Ground tremors caused by avalanches, volcanic activity, mud slides, earthquakes
  • When and Why? Causality
    • Measuring the precise sequence of events makes it possible to determine what came first and which events followed.
      • Sequence of events in accident determination
      • “Who shot first” in crime investigation
      • What triggered a building collapse?
      • How does a lightning strike propagate through the grid and causes damage
      • Physiological and neurological responses in humans and animals.
  • How: Advanced scientific experiments
    • Building and bridge stability
    • Earthquake and geophysical event monitoring
    • Wind Turbine system analysis: From wind in to power out.
    • Smart grid characterization
    • Modal analysis of aircraft, ships, structures
  • Control: Synchronously Controlling the world
    • Precision Controlled demolition
    • Synchronized traffic flow: cars, planes, trains.
    • Synchronized dynamic feedback to reduce vibration of large structures.

Fact: Light travels 30 cm in one nanosecond.  This means that you can differentiate between events in the time it takes light to travel 15 meters in 50 nanoseconds.

Fact: Sound travels about 300 nm in one nanosecond. So you can determine different acoustic events in the time it takes sound to travel 15 µm (=0.015 mm) in 50 nanoseconds.  For example this means you can acoustically measure the motion of an object that only moves 15 µm!

This seminar marks the conclusion of our 3,5 year EUDP sponsored demonstration project investigating the potential of energy efficiencies made possible by nano synchronization.

Not only will you hear about the project’s history and demonstrated applications, but also enjoy a “ride” into the not too far future, where exciting, but perhaps also “scary” scenarios will show you a world of global, real time synchronized internet of things sensors.

Seminar Outline

  • The internet of things: Past, Present and Future: Morten Wagner, Head of Department IdemoLab, DELTA.
  • IoT: Rethinking reliability, throughput, and accuracy under real world conditions: Anders P. Mynster, Senior Consultant, Test & Consultancy, DELTA.
  • Where does time come from? How time is distributed, and impacts our society Poul-Henning Kamp, Independent IT Consultant. 
  • Synchronized sensors, past and future: From science fiction to everyday life: Carsten Thomsen, Senior Specialist, DELTA
  • SyncBoard: Design philosophy and capabilities.  Future versions, including ASIC based enabling smaller size, lower power consumption.  Licensing. Dushan Vuckovic, PhD, Specialist IdemoLab, and Carsten Thomsen DELTA
  • Lunch
  • Applications Experiences
    • Sync Board vs. off the shelf current solutions: Ander Meister, CIM A/S
    • Wind Turbine Applications: Tomas Rosenberg Hansen, Siemens Windpower
    • Acoustic imaging and other Applictions: Per Rasmussen, GRAS Sound and Vibration.
    • Wind turbine inflow sensors: Uwe Schmidt Paulsen, Senior Scientist, DTU Wind Energy
    • Practical Experiment on wind turbine blade mounted SyncBoard: Carsten Thomsen, DELTA
    • Other applications: Lecturers and Audience.  
      • The Wind farm as a system
      • Sound Propagation
      • Amplitude modulation
  • Future visions: Panel Discussion
    • Massively parallel, infinitely scalable systems
    • The world in sync: Global instrumentation to detect arbitrary causalities.
  • Questions and networking
  • Summary: Future applications of SyncBoard, new research, cooperation models. Carsten Thomsen, DELTA.


The seminar is free but requires registration.  “No shows” for registered participants will be invoiced 500 DKK.

Register here

Time: Thursday May 26, 2016: 10.00 to 14.30.



Venlighedsvej 4

2970 Hørsholm


Sponsored by:

This research and seminar is partially funded by EUDP in the project “Improved wind turbine efficiency using synchronized sensors” Project 12I with the following participants: DELTA, DTU Wind Energy, Siemens Wind Power, GRAS Sound and Vibration, and CIM.

Also sponsored by the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV).

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