Engineers from the startup company Everactive have created a platform for the Internet of Things (IoT) that is totally battery-free. Their design for an industrial-based IoT seeks to solve the problems plaguing current iterations and make it a reality for more industrial applications.
The IoT is fundamentally an interconnected platform of different devices. These systems rely on sensors in order to function. The problem is that the sensors require batteries in order to function; this means that the energy supply is limited, and the batteries powering the sensors will eventually have to be replaced.
Engineers from the startup have designed industrial sensors capable of running nonstop for over twenty years with minimal maintenance and upkeep. Perhaps most intriguing of all, these new industrial sensors don’t run on batteries at all.
The secret to this modern innovation is ultra-low-powered integrated circuits. These circuits can use sources such as indoor light and sound vibrations to harvest energy and generate data. The data is sent in real-time directly to a cloud-based dashboard. The dashboard subsequently provides round-the-clock alerts, insights, and analysis to users in real-time, allowing them to take full advantage of their industrial IoT devices.
“It’s all enabled by the ultra-low-power chips that support continuous monitoring. Because our source of power is unlimited, we’re not making tradeoffs like keeping radios off or doing something else [limiting] to save battery life.”Everactive Co-Chief Technology Officer David Wentzloff
The finished products are built directly on top of its chips, resulting in a design that allows users to deploy quickly in large numbers. The first product they unveiled is designed to monitor the steam traps that release condensate from steam engines. These steam traps — and other, similar systems, are used in assorted industries in a variety of applications. Sectors that could benefit from this design include food production, oil and gas, and paper.
Additionally, the startup has created a new sensor that can monitor the rotations in machinery such as pumps and motors. The sensor operates on the second generation of Everactive’s battery-free chips.
Because of the low cost and virtually maintenance-free design, these new sensors should prove an invaluable resource throughout the industrial IoT.