Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have developed a very tiny wireless temperature sensor that is powered in a very special way: from the radio waves that are part of the sensor's wireless network.
This means that the sensor needs not even a single wire, nor a battery that would have to be replaced. The arrival of such sensors is an important development on route towards smart buildings, for instance. But the applications are many and various.
The smart buildings of the future will be full of sensors that will respond to the residents' every need, and will be as sustainable as possible. Like heating and lighting that only switches on when someone is in the room. That's only possible if these sensors are wireless and need no batteries, otherwise in a large building you would have to change the batteries every day.
This is demonstrated by TU/e researcher Hao Gao who will be awarded his PhD on Monday 7 December for his thesis in which he developed a sensor that measures just 2 square millimeters and weights a mere 1.6 milligrams, equivalent to a grain of sand.
The current version of the sensor has a range of 2.5 centimeters; the researchers expect to extend this to a meter within a year, and ultimately to 5 meters. The sensor has a specially developed router, with an antenna that sends radio waves to the sensors to power them. Since this energy transfer is accurately targeted at the sensor, the router consumes very little electricity.
And the sensors themselves are made such that their energy consumption is extremely low. The sensor also operates beneath a layer of paint, plaster or concrete. As Peter Baltus, TU/e professor of wireless technology, explains, this makes the sensor easy to incorporate in buildings, for instance by 'painting' it onto the wall with the latex.
The sensor contains an antenna that captures the energy from the router. The sensor stores that energy and, once there is enough, the sensor switches on, measures the temperature and sends a signal to the router. This signal has a slightly distinctive frequency, depending on the temperature measured. The router can deduce the temperature from this distinctive frequency.
The same technology enables other wireless sensors to be made, for example to measure movement, light and humidity. The application areas are enormous, Baltus says, ranging from payment systems and wireless identification to smart buildings and industrial production systems. They won't be expensive either: mass production will keep the cost of a sensor down to around 20 cents. The sensor is based on 65-nm CMOS technology.
The project, called PREMISS, has received funding from the STW technology foundation. The title of Hao Gao's thesis is 'Fully Integrated Ultra-Low Power mm-Wave Wireless Sensor Design Methods'. The integrated circuits research was done in the Mixed-Signal Microelectronics group and also involved the TU/e groups Electromagnetics and Signal Processing Systems as well as the Center of Wireless Technology.
Peter Baltus | EurekAlert!
Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers
15.11.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences