In 1996, the Digital Electronics Laboratory (LEN) of the engineering school (EIVD) starts its research & development (R&D) activities. The team is composed of three professors, Etienne Messerli, Maurice Gaumain and Serge Boada, and an engineer.

At this time, programmable logic devices undergo an accelerated evolution. GAL's, which used to be the most represented programmable devices tend to disappear. These devices are replaced by more and more complex CPLD's and FPGA's, available at competitive prices, leading to new domains of applications. At the same time, design methods are evolving, in particular with the introduction of highly effective software tools allowing the use of high-level languages (VHDL, Verilog) and more effective simulators.

During the late 90's, the LEN specializes in these new technologies and introduces them to local industries. Many forums and courses are organized in order to provide support to the companies in deploying these new devices.

In the early 2000's, the first research project is realized. The goal is to develop a PCI-2.0 interface VHDL-IP. In this context, the LEN realizes an automated test bench with timing verification. The acquired competences allow the LEN to develop several laboratory boards as well as an implementation of the didactic MU0 processor, completely described in VHDL. These tools are very well suited for the education of the school's students.

In 2003, the LEN is integrated in the MiS institute, forming the new Digital Systems group (MiS-DS). During this year, the professors Eduardo Sanchez and Andres Perez-Uribe join the group, bringing a new dynamic in the team. Their competences in the field of bio-inspired systems allow the group to expand and realize many projects.

In 2004, the MiS-DS group is disbanded and a new institute is created :

REDS, Reconfigurable & Embedded Digital Systems

The institute is formally created by the school's management in early 2005. This period coincide with the arrival of professor Daniel Rossier, who brings competences in embedded runtime environments. This allows the REDS institute to have a global knowledge in the development of intelligent embedded systems and the opportunity of realizing an increasing number of research and industrial projects. The interactions between these people with complementary skills results in the vision of the institute : the pervasive systems. Henceforth, the institute forms a coherent unity able to take up many challenges for the future of modern electronic systems.

Since 2005, the size of the team is constantly increasing, reaching the total of 6 professors, 3 senior engineers, 15 engineers and a technician in early 2009. The figure below illustrates this constant progression :

The first of September 2006, the first European project led by an HES school in Switzerland starts in the REDS institute. The coordinator is Eduardo Sanchez. The project has an overall budget of more than 2 millions euros for 3 years. The consortium is composed of many foreign partners, including: UPC (Spain), UNIL (Switzerland), UJF (France), CNRS-LIRMM (France), TUL (Poland), EPFL (Switzerland).

Since then, the REDS institute, always booming, is appointed to realize many projects, in particular two substantial projects (Qcrypt and IsyPeM) for the federal consortium Nano-Tera. These projects, spanning over 3 years, have a global fund of more than 4 million swiss francs.