MIT develops tri-source energy harvest control IC
July 12, 2012 // Peter Clarke
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed the control circuitry for an energy harvesting platform that can work with natural light, heat and vibrations.
The ability to combine solar, thermal and vibration energy sources is useful because many of these sources are intermittent and therefore a multisource architecture is able to capture and deliver power under a wider circumstances. However, the energy levels and optimization and control strategies are also diverse. According to MIT thermoelectric harvest sources typically produce only 0.02 to 0.15 volts, while photovoltaic cells generate 0.2 to 0.7 volts while vibration sources can produce up to 5 volts.
Up until now the simplest and commonest strategy has been simply to switch between the highest energy generation source, but wasting the energy input from other sources.
Co-ordinating the energy sources in real-time to produce a constant usable output requires a specialized control system which has been designed in a chip developed by doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay, under MIT professor Anantha Chandrakasan, is described in a paper published in the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits.
It has a dual-path architecture allowing energy to be used directly or to be stored and the switch matrix and the control circuits are implemented in a 0.35-micron CMOS process.
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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.
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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.
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