New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Archive for October, 2008

Midé powering wireless sensors with clean energy

Midé Technology is all set to roll out a different kind of charger with which they hope to power wireless sensors at lesser cost and more ecological sense. The company has rolled out a hybrid charger dubbed the Volture Vibration and Solar Energy Harvester. As specified in the name itself, the device can convert vibration and solar energy to electricity to supply power to the sensors. The company had earlier launched a product named Volture Vibration Energy Harvester, but soon they realized that vibration is not the only form of green energy that can be tapped. To improve things a bit, the company added a solar panel on the cover of the Vibration Energy Harvester to get more out of the same device.


More info here.

A CAP for Tomorrow’s Smart Meters?

Several major US utilities are now going forward with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) programs. Some of these programs will enter the deployment phase in early 2009, where these utilities will each be installing several thousand new smart meters per week. Since these new AMI deployments cover the entire customer base, it will take several years for a large utility to complete its full deployment.

The occasion of new meter installations is an opportunity for these utilities to install a communications infrastructure that reaches into the home and supports future home-based smart grid applications. The most talked about applications are demand response (where certain customer appliances are duty-cycled to reduce utility peak loads) and support for optimized and intelligent charging of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs).
For more information, please click here

GE Scientists Develop Battery-Free, Multi-Detection Wireless Sensors

GE Global Research, the technology development arm of the General Electric Company, today announced a battery-free, multi-detection radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensing platform that could enable a wide range of low cost wireless sensing products in healthcare, security, food packaging, water treatment and pollution prevention. GE’s unique RFID sensors are built on traditional RFID tags.

This “first-of-its-kind” sensing platform, in which a single sensor can provide a highly selective response to multiple chemicals under variable conditions, operates without a battery. GE’s sensor technology overcomes limitations in today’s sensors such as inadequate response selectivity and the need for an on-board power source. Without a battery, new sensors can be designed to be smaller than a penny and manufactured at very low cost. 


More info here.

Interface your OWN sensors to eKo

Crossbow’s new eKo system has not only brought wireless sensor networks into the heart of precision agriculture, the system now also offers a quick and easy solution for anyone wanting to incorporate wireless sensor networks into their own outdoor monitoring solution. Whether they are looking to use eKo for environmental monitoring and research, urban monitoring, pollution detection, etc., this system is on its way to being the wireless sensor networking solution for any outdoor sensing requirement regardless of sensor type. eKo is fully packaged for the elements, solar-powered and ready to use out-of-the-box. This platform now provides users with a solution that requires little effort for complete customization with the newESB developer’s kit. The first phase of this kit has now been released to all eKo users.

More info on Crossbow’s blog.

Cor Baayen Award 2008

Adam Dunkels from SICS, Sweden, is the winner of the 2008 Cor Baayen Award for a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics.

Adam’s research on sensornets has also been recognized by the 2007 Xerox Chester Carlson Science prize and the 2008 ACM EuroSys Roger Needham award. Congratulations Adam!

Adam Dunkels

Researchers create wirelessly-powered robot swarm

In a paper from ICRA 2008 there are details on the construction of a 60cm x 60 cm surface that provides wireless (battery-free) power and bidirectional communication to an initial swarm consisting of five line-following robots, each consuming 200 mW. Power transmission in the system was achieved through magnetic flux coupling between a high Q L-C resonator placed beneath the operating surface and a non-resonant pickup coil on each robot. The average power density demonstrated was 4.1mW/cm2 for a static load, and the paper demonstrates much greater peak power for dynamic loads via capacitor storage and power conditioning circuitry.

See the paper (and related blog post) for additional details. The slides from the ICRA 2008 presentation are also available here.  Finally, a video of the swarm operating battery-free on the surface is available here.

Robots and sensors to help elderly stay independent

Someday soon, older adults may not need to move into nursing homes because they’ll have a household of technological wonders to keep an eye on them when they become frail.

Sensors embedded throughout the seniors’ homes will detect when the residents have sleepless nights or forget to take their medication. Web-based computer software will notify caregivers.

“This is the future of aging,” said Fillia Makedon, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Technology will let people grow old at home.”

More info here.