TI Offers Low-Power Converter to Advance Design of Energy-Harvesting Electronics
A graphic displays how Texas Instruments' new ultra-low-power converter harvests energy to help designers create more efficient electronics. The TPS62736 DC/DC step-down converter can be used to create battery-free applications such as wireless sensor networks, monitoring systems, smoke detectors, wearable medical devices, and mobile accessories. (Source: Texas Instruments)
I love the potential for this type of technology. Think of how long battery life has been the bane of the existence of anyone dependent on portable electronics, especially if people need then to do their jobs. There is so much energy already available that doesn't need to be created, and as researchers come up with better and more interesting ways to harvest energy, electronics will become less dependent on batteries and other energy sources. I am a big proponent of this type of work.
This is great technology and another step forward to more effective portable solutions. It will also be interesting to see the impact on automation and control technologies such as wireless sensor solutions that can really benefit from this kind of technology. This is just another step in the right direction in terms of new capabilities available for device designs.
Thanks for the head's up. I have a alternative energy project coming up, not I have a DC controller in mind. I will have to investigate what else they are offering in their alternative energy initiative. I hope they have some system on a chip type products. IE: solar panel to battery hook up. No development on my part. One can dream.
I really like the idea of harvesting energy from the human heart to keep a pacemaker going. Seems the best example of energy harvesting that I've ever heard of. Changing a pacemaker battery is considered minor surgery, but most pacemaker-users would prefer to find a better method, if possible.
Alternative energy generators for the medical industry are all still in the prototype phase. As you can imagine, there are numerous certifications and near-endless testing to be done. Imagine if the generator stops for some reason.
I hope to see more work like this, as I may need it someday...
Interesting insight from Nirajan Pathare of TI in this story when he refers to low-power design as a "space race." I agree. Being able to operate everyday devices on lower current is one of the next great frontiers in electronics. Twenty years ago, no one foresaw the rise in handheld computing that's available today, largely because no one imagined that computers could operate at such low power levels. The trend toward low power design is still gaining momentum.
You might want to add another 20 years to your comment. Twenty years ago was 1993, there were many portable devices, even cell phones. When the industry dropped the required voltage from 5V to 3.3V, it is a huge help. Chips are getting even lower these days. Buck/boost circuits are getting efficient unseen in the past. Getting a higher potential from 3.3V is not an issue.
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If you’re developing a product with lots of sensors and no access to the power grid, then you’ll want to take note of a Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Designing Low Power Systems Using Battery and Energy Harvesting Energy Sources."
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