Energy-Harvesting Switches Puts Energy at Your Fingertips

Elizabeth Montalbano

December 3, 2014

3 Min Read
Energy-Harvesting Switches Puts Energy at Your Fingertips

The future of the smart home is dependent on getting myriad systems, gadgets, and appliances in the home communicating with each other. But communication is just one challenge to making this all work; providing energy sources compact and powerful enough to connect the pieces of the puzzle is another.

To that end, a French company called Arveni is offering a smart batteryless switch that operates the radio inside with the touch of a finger. The switch can be used to create an intelligent lighting system in a home or office; the radio itself inside the switch also can be used as a common connection point among different smart objects in the home.


With its BFree batteryless and wireless switch, Arveni aims to create a standard communications interface for the smart home that doesn't require a power source, according to information provided to Design News by Jean Frederic Martin, CEO of the company.

The BFree batteryless and wireless switch is comprised of three components: the aesthetic switch itself, which looks like a typical light switch; the SARAH radio device, an ISM communication standard that can be used in other devices for wireless communications; and the energy-harvesting system.

SARAH features 2-FSK modulation, known as FM; middle-high speed of transmission at 125kbps ; and an embedded CRC that rejects corrupted frames.The radio is ultra-low-power because of its short frame size; energy needed to power it is below 80 μWs, the company said.

Code for the radio is open source, according to Martin, which means other developers are free to use it to create devices that leverage the radio and to create a common system of communication.

The energy-harvesting system in BFree is a piezoelectric mechanism that converts the energy of a finger touch on the switch into electricity to power the SARAH radio.

Arveni has harvested 80% of finger-touch energy into power in the lab, while about 40% of that is converted in everyday conditions, according to the company. No matter, enough energy can be converted to continuously run the radio in the switch without the need for a battery, according to Arveni. In devices that also have batteries, the harvester can provide supplemental energy.

Related posts:

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano

Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist covering the telecommunications, technology and business sectors since 1998. Prior to her work at Design News, she has previously written news, features and opinion articles for Phone+, CRN (now ChannelWeb), the IDG News Service, Informationweek and CNNMoney, among other publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she also has lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and New York City. She currently resides in Lagos, Portugal. Montalbano has a bachelor's degree in English/Communications from De Sales University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in creative writing.

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like