Redefining Battery Life at Wireless Congress: Systems & Applications

By Srinivas Pattamatta, Vice President of Business Development of Atmosic

 

Wireless technologies are always advancing and expanding their reach in our current world. Platforms such as Bluetooth 5.0 (BLE) enables wider ranges of connectivity at lower power thresholds and battery-free wireless solutions are becoming more accessible and easier to use. This past month, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Wireless Congress: Systems & Applications in Munich. I was able to discuss some of the major challenges industry leaders and wireless professionals face when implementing energy-efficient Internet of Things (IoT) devices within an array of industries including healthcare, smart homes and smart cities.

Healthcare automation is one of the largest drivers in the medical industry from applications such as hospital asset tracking and indoor locationing to patient health monitoring and tracking. The IoT has amazing potential to help improve healthcare for both patients and medical professionals alike. Historically, it has been a challenge for the healthcare industry to ensure that the data communication not only works with existing infrastructures, but is wirelessly powered. However, with current technologies, the cost of manually replacing batteries and losing equipment can be life-threatening – not to mention time-consuming for healthcare professionals to manage. Forever battery/battery-free solutions have the potential to change the healthcare industry for the better, strengthening the lifetime of the connected devices.

As mentioned in my talk, Atmosic set out to solve these challenges. By redefining battery life, our team launched the M2 and M3 Series solutions based on the Bluetooth® 5 standard and enhanced with our Lowest Power Radio and On-demand Wake Up to deliver 10 to 100 times lower power. The M3 solution leverages Controlled Energy Harvesting that is capable of harvesting energy from multiple power sources – RF, photovoltaic, mechanical, and thermal – enabling battery-free operation for IoT devices. With the BLE 5.0 platform, controlled energy harvesting can be supported over a long-range – about 100m – allowing hosts to connect the energy source at distance.

There is enormous potential in leveraging multiple energy harvesting sources to power the IoT. Above we talked about the healthcare industry and our M2 / M3 solution, let’s explore others.

  • RF energy sources: Can harvest a wide frequency range including 915 MHz & 2.4Ghz generating up to 10s of mW of energy. The independent RF and Bluetooth links mean the RF source can be separated. This is ideal for applications such as badges, tags, locationing, electronic shelf labels, HIDs, and home and building automation.
  • Photo/light energy sources: Using photo/solar panels which can range in size from 1cm2 when closer to the source and about 6inch2 when 10 feet or about 200lux from the source. This is ideal for outdoor and indoor applications such as badges, tags, locationing, electronic shelf labels, HIDs, and home and building automation.
  • Motion energy sources: Great for continuous or occasional use. This energy sources will need to be close to the application such as a single click providing energy for BLE beacons. Applications that work best here are for wearables, tracking and home automation.
  • Thermal energy sources: Harvesting thermal gradients with changes in temperature that creates the energy needed to power devices. The thermos-electronic generator, partnership with Matrix Industries, can generate ~10s of mWs of energy. Applications that are ideal for thermal energy harvesting are wearables, tracking, farming, and home and building automation.

Wireless Congress: Systems & Applications was a great opportunity to find out more about the latest developments and trends in wireless communication and where Atmosic fits within that ecosystem. It was great to observe presentations on system integration and practical applications, as well as real-world examples from the fields of IoT, automation and LPWAN. Across the board, it was a great show. It is clearer than ever that now is the time to RE-VOLT and bring a battery-free IoT to devices.