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!
A platform for stable quantum computing, a playground for exotic physics
06.12.2019 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Developing a digital twin
06.12.2019 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...
With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction
The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...
Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds
Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.
In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
06.12.2019 | Earth Sciences
06.12.2019 | Life Sciences
06.12.2019 | Information Technology