MEMS chip enables battery-free sensors
December 08, 2011 // R. Colin Johnson
A MEMS chip can harvest energy from vibrations inside car tires allowing a tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to run battery-free, according to Belgian research institute IMEC. The new MEMS energy harvester technology from IMEC, which can be used to power any low-current wireless sensor node, was reported Wednesday at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington.
The maximum output of the MEMS energy harvester was just under 500 microWatts at its natural resonant frequency of 1 KHz. Energy generation dropped to just over 40 microWatts in automobile tire traveling at 40 miles per hour, but was still enough to qualify the part for powering the pressure sensor and wireless communications circuitry for TPMS systems, according to IMEC.
The MEMS energy harvester consists of a cantilever with a piezoelectric layer (aluminum nitride) sandwiched between metallic electrodes to form a capacitor. A mass attached to one end of the cantilever, enables it to act as a transducer converting vibrations into electricity as the piezoelectric layer flexes. The voltage across the capacitor can then be harvested to drive wireless circuits.
IMEC demonstrated that the tiny energy harvesters can be packaged using vacuum processing on six-inch wafers. IMEC predicts that its MEMS energy harvester will be used to power wireless sensor nodes in many applications where changing a battery is inconvenient—from automobile engines to industrial appliances.
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READER OFFERRead more
Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
And the winners are...
In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
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