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The Harvesting Revolution is back !
The Harvesting revolution #5
After a summer break, we are back with the fifth publication of the Harvesting Revolution. You can find the last publication there.
A few days ago, we had a really interesting discussion with Paul Davis from Atmosic. Find out more in the interview part below.
💡 LEARNING CONTENT
Nice, easy to understand and really practical video related to Energy Harvesting realised by GreatScott!, the YouTuber specialised on the electronic topic.
🎙 INTERVIEW // Paul Davis - Senior Director of Product Marketing @ Atmosic
Hi Paul, thanks for joining us, what is your position from Atmosic ?
I am a Senior Director of Product Marketing, responsible for Atmosic’s M3 product line. The M3 incorporates intelligent power management and energy harvesting capability with our ultra low power BLE solution to create a single IC capable of operating battery free from harvested energy alone.
Your baseline is « Forever Connected, Anywhere » what is precisely the Atmosic’s mission ?
Our mission is to help our customers build connected products without batteries or with extended battery life such that battery replacement is effectively never required. Besides being better for the environment, this reduces maintenance costs and enables new use cases. Imagine asset tracking tags that instead of being discarded after use can be recharged and re-used again and again, or very small health monitors capable of being worn constantly without ever needing replacement or removal for battery recharging. This is the potential that Atmosic is delivering for our customers.
To get there, you rely on three vectors : Lowest Power Radio, On-demand Wakeup, and Controlled Energy Harvesting. what it means
Yes, there are actually three different pieces to the Atmosic story. First is our low power radio technology, which utilizes advanced design techniques in both the digital and analog domains to create a solution that consumes much less energy than any other Bluetooth device on the market today. When you use much less power you don’t have to harvest nearly as much energy.
Second is our on-demand wakeup receiver, which shuts off most of the power to the chip with only a small portion of the receiver looking for a specific wakeup signal. This feature benefits applications where the device needs to respond quickly to an outside request, like an on-demand inventory tracking system where the device will remain in this ultra low power receive state until a request for status is made.
Finally, controlled energy harvesting is used to optimize power consumption. Our advanced power management unit maximizes the utilization of harvested energy and stores excess power in an off chip capacitor or rechargeable battery for use when harvested energy is not available. This level of integration between the Bluetooth system, power management and energy harvesting is a unique feature that only Atmosic supports today.
You mentioned on your website that “Atmosic is building products to address a very expansive market, projected to comprise 35+ billion connected wireless devices by 2023” which market segments are you targeting ?
The markets for Bluetooth are vast and stretch across many segments. This was the reason we targeted Bluetooth as the wireless technology for our first products. Today we are engaged with customers serving the consumer, healthcare, as well as commercial and industrial markets. Products in development range from battery free keyboards and IoT sensors for consumer and commercial use to small medical devices for patient monitoring. The list of potential applications is incredible and it seems like everyday we are hearing about interesting product ideas from our customers.
Which energy harvesting technologies do you use and why?
Atmosic’s M3 solution is flexible enough to support a variety of harvesting technologies. The device has an dedicated antenna input and rectifier circuit on-chip that can harvest RF energy over the 400 MHz - 2.4 GHz range, allowing us to take advantage of RF energy to power the device. There is also a separate input to our PMU that manages energy from an external harvesting device. The source of this energy can be photovoltaic (PV), mechanical (like a button press or vibration), or thermal.
Different harvesting methods are required for different markets. PV is great when there is sufficient light available, while some commercial and industrial customers need solutions that utilize the vibration or heat that is a byproduct of everyday activities.
Over the years we’ve seen products like handheld calculators adopt energy harvesting PV to the point where we never think about replacing a battery in a calculator. We see that happening with many wireless products in the years ahead. As more and more IoT devices are deployed across consumer, commercial, and industrial applications it just won’t be feasible to replace batteries. Energy harvesting of various types will be required to realize this future.
What are you seeing as the most interesting applications for your technology today?
Given the current situation with COVID-19, we are seeing great interest in applications around exposure notification. While many of these applications are built to run on smartphone platforms, there are also environments like workplaces, schools, and elder-care facilities where smartphones are not in common use or allowed. For these cases small form-factor wristbands or pendant style badges provide a relatively simple and cost effective solution.
We have publicly announced the first customer using our technology for this application back in July, and there will be much more coming on this in the months ahead.
Another exciting opportunity is remote controls. So many products to come with a small remote control that could take advantage of harvesting ambient light or the pressing of buttons to power the remote.
Do you have some interesting webinars, article or other resources to share with our readers?
We invite folks interested in learning more about Atmosic to visit our website at www.atmosic.com. There you can find out more about our technology and see videos demonstrating battery free products powered entirely by energy harvesting.
📚 GREAT READS
We interviewed Paul from Atmosic, you must know that they will collaborate with SMK Electronics to power connected devices like remote controls and sensors.
The Customer Strategy Director from Oracle presents the promise of IoT devices in the construction fields notably concerning smart-buildings monitoring and assets tracking.
If you want to start prototyping your own autonomous IoT project you can associate with PMIC and a OPV cells like the ones we sell.
👋 If you want to get in touch with me or someone of my team : firstname.lastname@example.org
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