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.
Interesting story about the Johnsons, Cabe! I agree that the lifestyle isn't very appealing, even if it's admirable that some people can do it. Living here in Portugal and being a surfer, I have learned to reduce certain kinds of waste (single-use plastic, for example) because I see the effects first hand on the natural environment and the ocean. But to reduce waste to zero would be really hard and a full-time job. Good to try, though...and if companies can start reusing and recycling energy and then making this available to us through electronics and alternative electricity options (here in Portugal, a good bit of energy on the grid is from wind turbines), then it's a good place to start without being too painful for the end user.
Ha, Cabe, yes, I do live most people's holidays, but it isn't all easy...as you can see, I do work a bit. :) But it is a lovely lifestyle and place.
So I exaggerated a bit about the amount of electricity coming from wind here ...but there is still a lot going on here. In this NYTimes article, it says the country is aiming for 60 percent of electricity to come from wind by 2020...and 31 percent of energy overall. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/science/earth/10portugal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
It's a small country but that still is pretty good! The wind turbines in that photo are just down the road from me. There is a fair amount of solar work being done as well. Not bad for a country that in many other ways is quite behind the times! (I have lived here for three years...believe me, I know!)
Spain has boasted a 100% renewable energy sourcing, but at the detriment of their economy. It still needs subsidizing heavily to compete with the low cost of conventional sources. It's a tough world for energy production.
I did not know that about Spain...but funny, I did pass a large solar array when I was driving from Spain last week back to Portugal with some friends...so I guess that makes sense! But yes, I suppose financing is tricky. Portugal's economy is in the gutter as well. There are opportunities here for many people, however, to be off grid with their own solar power and wind turbines, and I know a few people who manage it successfully. This takes the load off the larger electricity grid.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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