IoT drives progress towards low-power technology

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IoT is undergoing a rapid growth. There are large numbers of machines and meter, which are nter-connected, that come online, and they all bristle with sensors for the measurement of things all around them.

However, what will be the source of this the electronic gadgetry?

One of the major questions is regarding the power source of this system. And this is the kind of a query which drives initiatives like “Towards Zero-Power Electronics”, at the largest applied research institute of Europe, i.e. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. While speaking about their method of tackling power consumption when it comes to IoT, Erik Jung from the team of business development at Berlin’s Fraunhofer IZM mentions that there has been a change in it. He adds that “zero power”, as a term, means the traveling direction in the research, and it is a prospect of the future.

So what about the present?                                                                                                                            

At the moment, the actual focus remains on the electronics on minimized power. They are also focusing on the achievement of incremental improvements, when it comes to the efficiency of energy. He feels that then there is a reliance on electronics for crunching some numbers or for the transmission of data, there will be consumption of energy. This is an unavoidable situation. But, IoT can help with the minimization of the power being consumed.

How can IoT help with low consumption of energy?

Studies say that IoT, by 2020, will be made of 50 billion smart ‘things’, and soon after that, the number of sensor will become 1 trillion. For some of them, which will stay attached to the machines with the help of their power sources, there will be no problem regarding power. Where the terminals of wireless sensors can be deployed across large areas as well as in remote areas, there is a quick rise of concerns regarding the battery longevity and maintenance.

Revelations of Fraunhofer’s research

One of the areas in Fraunhofer’s research centers around the wakeup receiver’s progress. Such a decide uses extremely low currents in order to monitor the network of wireless sensors only start components from sleeping state in case there is a requirement for incoming instructions or requests to be handled. IoT applications heavy in sensors, when utilized  in building automation, remote maintenance, intelligent lighting, etc. can be bettered with the above-said receivers which can make the systems more efficient by up to three times.

The study also focuses on on-chip battery’s progress. This takes a look at the use of nanotechnologies in order for some tiny cavities to b etched on microcontrollers or semiconductors which have the ability to hold electrolytes or capacitors for powering the component. Another area in which Fraunhofer is interested, along with other organizations in the world, is the famed energy harvesting. Elements that generate power are used in electronic systems. They may include solar cells, as well as thermoelectric or piezoelectric elements, for instance, which can be used for the conversion of sunlight, heat and vibration into power.

About Energy Harvesting

Energy harvesting is expected to help with the extension of battery life, conjugating with a battery, or for the elimination of the requirement of batteries in total. The issue here is with the energy amount that is ‘scavenged’ from environment, which can vary, in case there is a drop of temperature or there is a lack of sun shine, and such situations will make it unsuitable for systems of IoT that require gathering and transmission of data in large amounts and at great frequency. Work at Fraunhofer is in progress of the investigation of materials offering best rates of conversion of power rates for energy harvesting.