Archive for the ‘batteryless switches’ Category

Energy harvesting

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Energy harvesting is not a new idea. We have had the motion-powered wristwatch for many years. But as electronic circuits move from consuming milliwatts to consuming microwatts an interesting thing happens. It becomes possible to contemplate drawing power for those circuits, not from the electricity grid or from a battery but from a variety of ambient phenomena. And this is expected to have far-reaching impact. One of the early applications is to have vibration-powered, wireless sensors in place on machinery, in vehicles. The battery-less aspect of such sensors removes the need for maintenance. EnOcean GmbH (oberhaching, Germany) has pioneered the use of wireless, batteryless switches for use in building automation and is now helping to drive the EnOcean Alliance to form standards.

Nokia is looking at energy harvesting in the context of the mobile phone but has stressed it has no prototype as yet. But in 2010 all makers of mobile equipment have to be looking at energy harvesting to, at least, augment the battery life of their equipment.