Evercell Thermal Energy Harvester to Power Battery-less IoT Wireless Sensors

In order to be successful the Internet of Things needs to be extremely inexpensive per node, and the problem is that most remote sensors are non powered by batteries, which either needs to be replaced or recharged, which involve maintenance costs. One ideal solution is battery-less IoT sensor nodes, that do not need any battery, and instead rely on energy harvesting. The idea is easier said that done, especially if you intend to do it cheaply. While there have been solutions provided over the years for example using vibration energy harvesting or water flow, battery-less devices are still not that common, but companies still bring new energy harvesting devices to market. One of those is Face International’s Evercell thermal energy harvester that leverages the temperature difference within a material to generate electricity, as long as ambient temperature is above absolute zero. The company plans to manufacture various models of their […]

Cracking Open a Self-Powered Shower Temperature Display

A month ago, I wrote about a $10 self-powered thermometer display that connects to your shower header and can display the water temperature near real-time to help with mixing hot and cold water tap to achieve the perfect temperature. It’s not really useful where I live, but I was hoping somebody would buy one, and crack it open to find out how it works. It turns out MickMake has done just that even bringing an oscilloscope in the shower… If you just want to use the thing, the good news is that it appears to work well, and temperature is displayed within less than one second after turning the tap, and goes up as hot/warm water goes through it. Now for the teardown… It does not seem that easy to open it, but he managed, and found a 470 uF capacitor, LS164 8-bit shift register for the LCD display, ABS6 […]

TDK CeraCharge Solid State Battery-in-a-Chip is Designed for IoT & Wearables

We’ve recently seen solid state batteries are prone to dislodge current Lithium Ion battery technology as they are safer, support higher energy density, and faster charging. Such batteries are expected to be seen in car in the first part of the next decade, in smartphones starting possibly in 2019, but TDK has just announced their own CeraCharge rechargeable solid state SMD battery with mass production scheduled to start in April 2018. TDK CeraCharge battery-in-a-chip will come in compact EIA 1812 package (4.5 x 3.2 x 1.1 mm), offer a capacity of 100 µAh at a rated voltage of 1.4 V, and can be recharged up to 1000 times. Potential applications include IoT devices, real-time clocks, Bluetooth beacons, and systems for energy harvesting. The battery – which will look very similar to an SMD capacitor – does not include liquid electrolyte, and instead uses a solid ceramic element as electrolyte which rules out any risk of fire, explosion, […]

$10 Self-Powered Thermometer Displays Shower Water Temperature in Real-Time

I now live in a house with an electric water heater that warms the temperature on the fly to the temperature we set on the display, provided it’s not too cold. But in the past, I lived in colder climates with water pre-heated in a hot water tank, and accessible from most taps in the house. Each time I took a shower I had to adjust the cold and hot water taps, wait a bit and do further adjustments to get the right temperature, not too cold, not too hot. I’ve just come across a little gadget that you ease this process as it displays the water temperature on an LCD display. The installation looks fairly easy, and there’s no need for batteries as it’s self-powered with the flow of water. Some of the key features of the device include: Display – 360-degrees rotatable & waterproof LED display design:  and […]

EtaCore ARM Cortex M3 Core Operates at Low Voltage (0.25V and up) for Higher Power Efficiency

We’ve previously seen Ambiq Micro offering Apollo ARM Cortex M4F MCU with Cortex M0+ energy efficiency, and later the upgraded Apollo 2 MCU with even lower power consumption and better performance. The company can achieve such efficiency thanks to low sub-thresold operating voltage in the 0 to 0.5V range. Another startup – Eta Compute – is now offering another low voltage solution with their EtaCore ARM Cortex M3 IP, and other IP blocks operating at low voltage (0.25 to 1.2V). Eta Compute claims a “10x improvement in power efficiency over any alternative”, and battery life of over 10 years on a CR2032 coin cell. Their website does not provide that many details about the core and development tools, but still mentions the following: The only commercially available self-timed technology supporting dynamic voltage scaling (DVS) that is insensitive to process variations, inaccurate device models, and path delay variations Includes M0+ and […]

8Power Vibration Energy Harvesting Technology Powers Batteryless LPWAN GPS Trackers, MEMS Sensors

While IoT products usually promises one to 10 years battery life, they will be several billions of them, and ARM’s CEO even forecast one trillion IoT devices in the next 20 years. Recharging batteries at home may be fine, but imagine having to recharge or replace batteries on top of electric poles, inside walls, in remote locations, and other hard to reach places, considerable resources would have to be deployed just to replace or recharge battery every year or whenever the battery is close to being depleted.  That’s why work on energy harvesting technology for batteryless devices may be so important, and 8Power is one of the companies working in the field through their vibration energy harvesting technology that is said to harvest up to 10x the power of competing devices under comparable condition thanks to the use of parametric resonance phenomenon. The company has recently announced their Track 100 family […]

PragmatIC Manufactures Ultra Thin and Flexible Plastic Electronics Circuit, Plastic ARM Cortex M0 MCU Coming Soon

Electronics manufacturing now relies on silicon wafers, and it works great for many applications. However, some other applications require or benefit from a cheaper price, thinner circuits, and flexibility, and PragmatIC addresses all those three issues with technology to print electronics circuits on plastic sheets. The technology is said to costs less than 1/10th cost of silicon, with the circuit printed on 10 μm thick flexible plastic “wagers” with support for 10 layers. Circuit starts from basic gates up to ARM Cortex M0/M0+ chip as shown above. Simpler circuits are currently sold for as low as $0.01, but the area for Cortex M0 MCU is 1cm2, and a bit too big for commercial applications, so they plan on shrinking the process to make it commercial viable. ARM is an investor in the company, and PragmatIC is ramping production capacity with the ability to manufacture on billion plastic chips/circuits in 2018. […]

Batteryless, Urine Powered Smart Diapers Notify You When It’s Time to Change Them

One of the downside with current smart wearables is that most need to be recharged quite often, every day, week or month, and we’re still a long way of 10 year battery life offered by typical watches. I’m hopefully that eventually many devices won’t need to be recharged at all as we’ll have made improvements both in terms of power efficiency and energy harvesting using solar, body heat, vibrations and other techniques. Takakuni Douseki, professor at the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering of Ritsumeikan University, has been working on micro energy harvesting, and his latest “wireless involuntary urination sensor system” notifies the user when it’s time change the diapers without the need of any battery, instead using energy generated by urine and stored in a capacitor in order to transmit the data wirelessly. The prototype is using a modified baby diaper with a 320x5mm activated carbon piece, and a […]

AAEON BOXER-6224-AI Jetson Nano embedded system