To go along with its ultra low-power semiconductors, this week, Anagear also released the ANG101x development kit to help familiarize OEMs and designers with the products. The kit includes an evaluation board with a photovoltaic panel and full set of documentation, including a user manual and datasheets for the circuits.
Anagear's emergence supports a growing trend in power-management to offer new and better ways for low-power systems to manage their power and even harvest from other sources.
Texas Instruments recently introduced a low-power converter to offer battery-free power to wireless sensor networks, smoke detectors, wearable medical devices, and other small devices. The company claims the converter can increase the amount of harvested energy an end application can use as much as 70 percent.
Anagear, too, is targeting these type of devices with its circuits, according to Dhaeze:
Think about how smoke detectors always give this beep in the middle of the night when the battery runs out. If you can reduce that power consumption where you can run that from a solar panel, it becomes an install-and-forget kind of device. The same is true for a lot of other battery operated devices.
Other researchers are exploring other low-power and energy-harvesting options. A team at the University of Michigan's department of aerospace engineering recently developed technology that can harvest energy from the human heartbeat to power a pacemaker, a move that could eliminate the need for battery replacement over the life of the device.
Very true, so many designs simply need to wake up every second or so to make a measurement and that clock circuitry usually takes a few microamps. Microcontroller vendors have gotten better at providing a low current wake-up but aren't really there yet.
ZiLOG has a pretty nice watchdog circuit in their Encore parts that can do it with less than a microamp.
It definitely seems like Anagear is on to something here with its preservation of power it manages by taking power management out of the microcontroller. It seems a fairly simplistic idea and will be interesting to see if this takes off. I wonder if designers might balk at making this change to the time-worn design.
Not if meets the right balance of cost and performance. If it adds too much cost to the BOM then only the designs trying to squeeze every last nanowatt will want the part. On the other hand, if they get the part under a dime in volume then I can use a cheaper, power guzzling micro and spend the dime on their part. It's another performance/cost trade off.
The distant future will feature mining landfills, I am sure of it. The precious lithium will get recovered at all costs. Not to mention all the metals recovered there too. A century of building these landfills have created mountains, as you can see in some cities. Inside it is a television from the 1950s, packed with all sorts of precious metals. It waits for someone to recover in the future.
i remember those, Cabe...what a simple concept, and I wonder now why it took so long for solar power to catch on. I guess people are now starting to learn from the past but I agree, I think this type of harvesting could have been started years ago and been further along in its progression by now.
Harevesting, recycling, reusing...these are all the ways forward now before we use up everything we have and are FORCED to do it. I think my parents instilled in me value for things even though I don't care about having lots of them in general. I was always the type of person who would use something even if it was falling apart...until it absolutely broke. And even then I would try to fix it. The idea of use once and throwaway has become way too commonplace. Harvesting and recycling what we can to turn it into something else--whether it be metal, plastic or what have you--is the best thing we can do to promote a healthier planet. It also makes sense financially if you can get the numbers right.
The "Johnson family of California" recycles and preserves everything to a point where they throw away only a few handfuls of trash a year. They are not the only ones either. It can be done. But to be honest, their lifestyle is not that appealing.
I read this a feel pretty awful for all the garbage I tossed out recently.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.