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 […]

Ambiq Micro Introduces Ultra-Low Power Apollo 2 Cortex-M4F MCU Consuming Less than 10 μA/MHz

Last year Ambiq Micro unveiled their Apollo Cortex-M4F MCU with Cortex M0+ energy efficiency thanks to operation in sub-threshold voltage (< 0.5 V), and the MCU is said found in Matrix Powerwatch, a fitness tracker powered by body heat that you never need to charge. The company has recently announced a new version of the micro-controller with Apollo 2 MCU with better maximum performance thanks to a higher maximum clock speed (48 MHz vs 24 MHz), and higher efficiency (10 μA/MHz vs 30 μA/MHz @ 3.3V). Apollo 2 MCU key features and specifications: Ultra-low supply current <10 μA/MHz executing from flash at 3.3 V <10 μA/MHz executing from RAM at 3.3 V ARM Cortex-M4 Processor up to 48 MHz with FPU, MMU, wake-up interrupt controller with 32 interrupts Ultra-low power memory Up to 1 MB of flash memory for code/data Up to 256 KB of low leakage RAM for code/data […]

Meet Body Heat Powered MATRIX PowerWatch, The Activity Tracker You Never Need to Charge (Crowdfunding)

There are currently several issues with wearables that makes it sub-optimal devices, from displays that can’t be always-on, to unreliable sensors, and in my experience pretty poor reliability, as I’ve managed to go through 4 fitness trackers / smartwatches in a year. Another issue is that contrary to typical watches lasting 10 years with a coin cell battery, most wearables require to be charge every few days, weeks, with the very best devices being chargers every few months. MATRIX PowerWatch promises to solve latter, as you will never need to ever charge it since it charges itself by harvesting energy using your body heat. The company promotes it as a smartwatch, but it’s closer to an activity tracker, since you can’t keep the Bluetooth LE connection all the time in order to receive notifications to your smartphone. It’s basically used to show time, track your activity and sleep patterns, and […]

Cypress Introduces PSoC 4 L-Series ARM Cortex-M0 MCU and Development Kit

Cypress Semiconductor has recently unveiled PSoC 4 L-Series micro-controller family based on ARM Cortex M0 core with more programmable analog and digital blocks, expanded memory, new peripherals and higher number of I/Os, as well as the corresponding Arduino compatible CY8CKIT-046 PSoC 4 L-Series Pioneer Kit to evaluate their latest solution. Key features of PSoC 4 L-Series MCU ARM Cortex-M0 CPU @ 48-MHz with DMA controller, up to 256KB flash, up to 32KB SRAM and  up to 98 GPIOs CapSense with SmartSense auto-tunning – 2x Cypress Capacitive Sigma-Delta (CSD) blocks Programmable analog 4x configurable opamps 4x current DACs (IDACs) 2x low-power comparators (CMP) One 12-bit, 1-Msps SAR ADC Programmable digital 8x Universal Digital Blocks (UDBs) 8x configurable 16-bit TCPWM 4x independent serial communication blocks (SCBs) Full-Speed USB 2.0 controller 2x CAN Controllers Segment LCD Drive support up to a maximum of 64 output (commons or segments) Power 1.71 to 5.5 V […]

Review and Teardown of Simplelink Self-Powered Power Switch

After I wrote about SimpleLink Batteryless power switch and receiver, the company decided to sent me a kit to try out by myself. So in this review, I’ll checkout the kit, install a demo to show how it works, and finally have a look at the internals. The kit include a power cord with a US plug and a holder and corresponding light bulb that you need to connect to the corresponding red and blue wire of the receiver (white cylinder), and you can control with the green power battery-less switch. Two 3M double face stickers are also included for the receiver and switch, as well as a strap for the switch, a screw set for either the light holder or receiver, and a user’s manual shown below. Installation is pretty self-explanatory, and you just need to connect the blue and red cables to the input (mains) and output (light) […]

SimpleLink Battery-less Power Switch Leverages RF & Energy Harvesting Technologies

SimpleLink may be the name used by Texas Instruments for their wireless MCU family, but there’s also a Chinese company called SimpleLink Technology that develops wireless smart home solutions including battery-less power switches that communicate over sub GHz band to receivers using energy harvested from pressing the button(s) on the switch. They have different models with 1 to 4 buttons, and round and square shapes. Let’s have a look at SIM1010-K1 specifications: Switch Type – Push-Button; operating force: 7N; typical total travel: 4mm Number of Keys – 1 gang Power Mode: Self-Powered Control Distance – Up to 30 meters indoor (works though walls), 100+ meters outdoor Frequency Bands – 433/315/868/915MHz Lifetime – >200,000 times Connectivity – SimpleLink (most probably entirely unrelated to TI SimpleLink);  +10dBm Tx power Operating Temperature: -25~70℃ Operating Humidity: 0~95%RH Dimensions – Ф 70 x 15.5 mm Weight – 44g That self-powered wireless switch will prevent the […]

Cypress Unveils a $49 Solar Powered IoT Development Kit with Bluetooth LE Connectivity

Cypress Semiconductors has recently launched a Solar powered IoT device kit, with the easy-to-remember codename S6SAE101A00SA1002, featuring the company’s CYBLE-022001-00 Bluetooth Smart module, and S6AE101A energy harvesting power management IC (PMIC) on the main board, as well as all accessories such as a small solar panel, a BLE-USB bridge, and all necessary components and cables. Target applications include battery-less wireless sensor node (WSN), IoT device that monitors various sensors, BLE Beacon, wearable device, building energy management system (BEMS), Home EMS, Factory EMSystem, wireless lighting control,wireless HVAC sensor and security system. The main features of the Energy harvesting motherboard include: Cypress CYBLE-022001-00 Bluetooth Smart module with ARM Cortex-M0 @ 48MHz, 128 KB flash, 16KB SRAM Cypress S6AE101A energy harvesting PMIC Sensor – Temperature & humidity sensor USB – 1x USB port for programming and debugging Debugging – SWD (serial Wire Debug) connector, JTAG header for USB-BLE Expansion – Sensor expansion connector […]

ShiftWear Shoes Integrate a Flexible e-Paper Display, Energy Harvesting Capabilities (Crowdfunding)

ARM CTO, Mike Muller, showcase imprinted electronics, that is an integrated circuit printed on a plastic film, at ARM TechCon 2015, and several products are featured flexible displays, so in future flexible electronics could bring innovation applications from truly wearables electronics to traceable bank notes, and so on. A company has launched an Indiegogo campaign for a new product, that’s both cool and relatively useless, with ShiftWear sneakers that integrate a flexbile e-Paper display, a battery that recharges by harvesting energy from your steps, and some connectivity (likely Bluetooth LE) to update the display from your iOS, Android or  Windows device. Three models are available: L1, M1 and H1 referring to low height, medium height and high height of the part around the ankle (heel tab?). But all three have basically the same features: Always-on HD color e-paper flexible display Up to 30 days of battery life Waterproof up to […]