At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Texas Instruments (TI) will demonstrate anInternet of Things sensor network that uses harvested energy that comes from changes in temperature, vibrations, wind and light.
Patrick Thibodeau, Reporter for Computerworld:
The idea of harvesting power has a long history and there are many applications of it today. However, big solar panels or large sensors that can capture energy from vibrations, heat and light are impractical in many Internet of Things sensor applications, which are tiny in size.
TI said it has developed electronics capable of taking small amounts of power generated by harvested sources and turning them into a useful power source. This means that the sensors used to collect the energy can be small as well.
All these ambient energy sources, such as the difference in temperature in a pipe carrying hot water and the outside air, can generate 300 to 400 millivolts, which isn’t enough to power anything. TI has built an “ultra-low powered” DC-to-DC switching converter that can boost this power to 3 to 5 volts, which is sufficient to charge a battery, according to Niranjan Pathare, senior marketing development manager at TI.