Evaluation Kit Targets Developers for Power-Harvesting IoT
July 18, 2022
Wireless technology has come a long way since its inception in the late 1920s to the development of Bluetooth in the early 1990s. There are various pros and cons regarding the scalability and efficiency of such wireless systems.
In today’s standard BLE technology, batteries are essential to transmit data to mobile phones or other systems. This implies a mandatory requirement of an inbuilt power source in these devices. In other cases, passive RFID tags may sound useful, but they would still not be able to collect sensor data due to the lack of power. Also, RFID tags would need an RFID reader in order to send or receive data or signals.
According to ENERGOUS, adopting wireless and battery-free technology has many advantages. Labels will be much less expensive to operate without batteries, and battery replacements do not have to be provided by retailer staff. This technology is a gamechanger in E-waste management as it reduces the number of batteries that are wasted after full use.
Wireless connectivity is much cheaper than wired networking, as it does not require cables between a source and destination and has lower long-term costs due to less maintenance and fewer resources.
ENERGOUS has designed a test kit for low-cost wireless communication systems that use battery-free Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that could be powered by RF transmission and then transmit data back to a server. To build a battery-free BLE system, the $500 kit comprises a 1-watt WattUp PowerBridge transmitter, Atmosic's ATM3 energy-harvesting BLE system-on-chip (SoC), two energy-harvesting BLE modules, and a mobile app. Through wireless power transfer, this evaluation kit will be battery-free and possess greater durability using Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
The primary focus of the transmitter is to charge wirelessly at a distance, and the technology enables mobile sensors to be used in a wider range of applications by delivering data over a long distance. Tags can be charged from up to 13 meters (42.7 feet) away, and additional transmitters can be deployed to extend the range. This is implemented by using a 900 MHz-based, 1-watt conducted-power transmitter to various other power systems such as IoT devices. Within regulatory constraints, this transmission (900 MHz) allows for a wider range and higher wattage to be sent than at higher frequencies.
Applications of the Evaluation Kit
A price and related information transmitted by a BLE device could be displayed on electronic shelf labels to increase customer engagement. With battery-free power options, such applications become more affordable for retailers, enabling multiple low-cost labels to be mounted on shelves. According to the company, the solution could also work with edge-based Artificial Intelligence (AI), with enough power delivered to IoT devices to allow them to perform simple computing and more data processing, reducing the amount of data that would need to be sent to the cloud.
Developers interested in creating systems for industrial IoT or shelf labeling are actively testing the kit. The sensor modules in the package have the ability to measure temperature, humidity, acceleration, and other parameters. This device can also be used in housing and accommodations by analyzing information about the conditions inside or around rooms or buildings for use by property owners, managers, or tenants. The sensor data collected can then be used with smart-home or smart-building applications.