John Barrett

Acting Head of Centre/ Head of Academic Studies

  • +353 (0)21 4335565
  • Year Started in Nimbus: 2009


Prof. John Barrett is Head of Academic Studies at the Nimbus Research Centre. In this role, he manages academic activity including postgraduate research quality, undergraduate projects, the Nimbus Summer Internship Programme, and delivery of teaching by the  research centre staff.


B.E. (Electrical), University College Cork,1981                                                                  

MEngSc (Microelectronics), UCC, 1983

PhD (Microelectronics), UCC, 1988                        

Employment History


CIT, Professor, Acting Head of Centre, Nimbus Research Centre



CIT, Professor, Head of Academic Studies, Nimbus Research Centre



CIT, Senior Lecturer, Head of Academic Studies, Nimbus Research Centre



CIT, Lecturer and Head of Smart Systems Research Group



NMRC Ireland (now Tyndall National Institute), UCC, Assistant Director of Centre



NMRC Ireland, UCC, Group Director, Systems Integration



NMRC Ireland, UCC, Senior Research Scientist

Overall R&D

John’s research area is the miniaturisation, packaging and reliability of embedded wireless sensing systems, particularly for operation in harsh and rugged environments. This lies at the physical layer of hyperconnectivity and focuses on ensuring that the fundamental hardware building blocks of hyperconnected networks function reliably while meeting demanding application requirements.

He is a member of and has acted as Chair of the CIT Postgraduate Research Board and is also a member of the CIT Academic Council and the CIT Research and Innovation Committee. He is an Academic Research Associate of Tyndall National Institute.

He is also active in communication of emerging technologies to a wide variety of audiences and has acted as an invited keynote and expert speaker at events across the world. His TEDxCIT talk on the Internet of Things has over half-a-million views. He shares his experience in public speaking through his CIT Communication Skills training module.


  1. J. George and J. Barrett, “A Steam Sterilizable Plastic-Encapsulated Wireless Sensor Module,” in IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 770-778, April 2019. doi: 10.1109/TCPMT.2019.2898668.
  2. Rojas, D. & Barrett, J. “A Link quality evaluation of a wireless sensor network in metal marine environments”, Springer Wireless Networks (April 2018).
  3. D. Rojas and J. Barrett, “A Novel 3-D Embedded Module for Displacement Measurement in Metal Structures,” IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, vol. 7, no. 11, pp. 1765-1773, Nov. 2017. doi: 10.1109/TCPMT.2017.2749278
  4. George, J.; Compagno, T.; Rodgers, K.; Waldron, F.; Barrett, J., “Reliability of plastic-encapsulated electronic components in supersaturated steam environments,” in Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, IEEE Transactions on , vol.5, no.10, pp.1423-1431, Oct. 2015, doi: 10.1109/TCPMT.2015.2470596
  5. George, J.; Barrett, J., “Analysis of Dynamic Moisture Diffusion in Packaging Materials During Steam Sterilization,” Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, IEEE Transactions on , vol.5, no.3, pp.345,354, March 2015. doi: 10.1109/TCPMT.2015.2397975.
  6. Moore, L.; Barrett, J.; , “Board-Folding Method for Fabrication of 3-D System in Package Devices,” IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, Vol. 2, No. 7, July 2012, pp. 1209-1216, doi: 10.1109/TCPMT.2012.2196042.
  7. William Quinn, Ger Kelly, and John Barrett, “Development of an embedded wireless sensing system for the monitoring of concrete”, Journal of Structural Health Monitoring”, 11(4), July 2012, pp. 381–392, doi:10.1177/1475921711430438.
  8. Moore, L.; Barrett, J.; , “Embedded Module for 3-D Mechanical Strain Measurement,” IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, Vol. 2, No. 6, June 2012, pp. 1002-1011, doi: 10.1109/TCPMT.2012.2186962
  9. David Rojas and John Barrett, “Experimental Analysis of a Wireless Sensor Network in a Multi-Chamber Metal Environment”, Proceeding of the 22nd European Wireless Conference, Oulu, Finland, 18-20 May 2016, pp. 494-99.
  10. J. George, T. Compagno, F. Waldron and J. Barrett, “Reliability Analysis of Plastic Encapsulated Coin Batteries under Harsh Environmental Conditions”, 4th Electronics Systems Integration Technologies Conference, ESTC2012, Bruges, Belgium, September 2012. DOI: 10.1109/ESTC.2012.6542109.


INSPEX- Integrated Smart Spatial Exploration System


 The INSPEX objective is to develop a portable/wearable, multi-sensor, miniaturised, low power spatial exploration system. The INSPEX system will be used for real-time, 3D detection, location and warning of obstacles under all environmental conditions in indoor and outdoor environments with unknown static and mobile obstacles. INSPEX use applications include mobility for the visually impaired, safer human navigation in reduced visibility conditions (smoke, dust, fog, heavy rain/snow, darkness or combinations of these), small robot/drone. The INSPEX system will adapt obstacle-detection capabilities common in autonomous cars for portable and wearable  applications including guidance for the visually impaired and blind, robotics, drones and smart manufacturing. It will be used for real-time, 3D detection, location and warning of obstacles under all environmental conditions. These include smoke, dust, fog, heavy rain/snow, and darkness, and in indoor and outdoor environments with unknown stationary and mobile obstacles.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement no 730953. 

This work was supported in part by the Swiss secretariat for education, research and innovation (SERI) under grant 16.0136 730953.



SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies: “ADVANCE CRT”


The ADVANCE CRT – What is it?

The ADVANCE CRT is a Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research Training focused on Future Networks and the Internet of Things with applications in sustainable and independent living. ADVANCE will train 120 PhD students, recruited in four annual cohorts of 30 students across the five partner universities, beginning with the academic year 2019/20


We live in a society where ubiquitous, high-speed communication networks enable, and increasingly dominate, our family, social and working lives. These networks enable an ever-increasing range of human-to-machine and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication applications in the Internet of Things. This expanding hyper-connectivity will create new communication, sensing and control services, and forms of interconnectivity and services between people and Things in ways we cannot yet even fully envisage. Two societal pressures drive the need for hyper-connectivity – Urbanisation and Rural Depopulation.

Meeting both the technical and societal challenges of global hyper-connectivity requires multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches. Our vision is to train the next generation of researchers who will seek solutions to the technical and societal challenges of global hyper-connectivity between large numbers of People and Things. We will explore opportunities for a range of novel applications in sustainable and independent living enabled by such networks that will become critically important to sustain large dense cities and alleviate problems of rural depopulation. Given the far-reaching technological, economic, social and personal impacts of hyper-connectivity, our researchers will, in addition to deep competence in their individual disciplines, need understanding of these wider ethical, social and economic aspects. They will need the ability to collaborate with, learn from, and communicate their discipline-specific knowledge with other disciplines and the public who will be the beneficiaries of their collective expertise.


The ADVANCE CRT brings together over 50 research supervisors from computer science, electrical and computer engineering, social science, psychology and health science, to stimulate socially-responsible and inclusive creativity and innovation in the field of future networks and the Internet of Things. ADVANCE is a close partnership between five Irish Higher Education Institutions and Irish-based industry. ADVANCE is a rich ecosystem of partner universities involving University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, and TU Dublin and large companies such as Nokia, Intel, DellEMC, u-blox, Vodafone, UTRC, Johnson Controls, JaguarLandRover and indigenous SMEs such as Taoglas, Decawave, Shimmer, Independet Living Ireland and local authorities and NGOs such as Dublin and Cork City Councils, RehabGroup and Enable Ireland.

I have supervised 35 postgraduate research students to completion. Example projects include:


Wireless Sensors for Health Monitoring of Marine Structures and Machinery

A Plastic Encapsulated Wireless Sensor Module for Monitoring of Medical Steam Sterilisers

Mechanical Protection of Embedded Electronic Modules Exposed to High Mechanical Impact Forces

Miniature Embedded Module for Prognostic Health Monitoring (PHM) of Electronic Systems