Each year the network of smart devices seems to be growing exponentially. Last month a teenager even made headlines for claiming to tweet from her smart fridge after her mother took away her other devices. According to a recent TechXplore post titled Photovoltaic-powered sensors for the 'Internet of Things', “By 2025, experts estimate the number of Internet of Things devices—including sensors that gather real-time data about infrastructure and the environment—could rise to 75 billion worldwide.”
As the Internet of Things expands, so does the demand for sensors to collect data and energy to power those sensors. A team of researchers at MIT are working on a solution for these problems using low cost solar cells mounted on thin radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. The cells can be used to power sensors using ambient indoor or outdoor light without having to recharge batteries.
In the TechXplore post, Sai Nithin Kantareddy, a Ph.D. student in the MIT Auto-ID Laboratory explains, "In the future, there could be billions of sensors all around us. With that scale, you'll need a lot of batteries that you'll have to recharge constantly. But what if you could self-power them using the ambient light? You could deploy them and forget them for months or years at a time...This work is basically building enhanced RFID tags using energy harvesters for a range of applications."
The post TechXplore continues, “Depending on certain factors in their environment, such as moisture and heat, the sensors can be left inside or outside for months or, potentially, years at a time before they degrade enough to require replacement. That can be valuable for any application requiring long-term sensing, indoors and outdoors, including tracking cargo in supply chains, monitoring soil, and monitoring the energy used by equipment in buildings and homes.”
The prospect of low cost, solar powered sensors seems promising. However, the reliability of such equipment will depend on its ability to withstand the environments that it is deployed in. This will surely require environmental testing...and that is where we can help!
For over 60 years, Associated Environmental System has been a global leader in the development of environmental test chambers. We offer a wide variety of test chambers capable of creating and maintaining tightly controlled environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, thermal shock and salt spray. We even offer custom designed chambers manufactured to meet our customers specific test requirements.
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