System developed at MIT could combine power harvested from light, heat and vibrations to run monitoring systems.
Researchers at MIT have taken a significant step toward battery-free monitoring systems — which could ultimately be used in biomedical devices, environmental sensors in remote locations and gauges in hard-to-reach spots, among other applications.
Previous work from the lab of MIT professor Anantha Chandrakasan has focused on the development of computer and wireless-communication chips that can operate at extremely low power levels, and on a variety of devices that can harness power from natural light, heat and vibrations in the environment. The latest development, carried out with doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay, is a chip that could harness all three of these ambient power sources at once, optimizing power delivery.
“Energy harvesting is becoming a reality,” says Chandrakasan, the Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering and head of MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Low-power chips that can collect data and relay it to a central facility are under development, as are systems to harness power from environmental sources. But the new design achieves efficient use of multiple power sources in a single device, a big advantage since many of these sources are intermittent and unpredictable.
“The key here is the circuit that efficiently combines many sources of energy into one,” Chandrakasan says. The individual devices needed to harness these tiny sources of energy — such as the difference between body temperature and outside air, or the motions and vibrations of anything from a person walking to a bridge vibrating as traffic passes over it — have already been developed, many of them in Chandrakasan’s lab.
via MIT – David L. Chandler
The Latest Streaming News: Energy harvesting updated minute-by-minute