IoT Reference Design Optimizes Power Savings with PV Energy Harvesting

Article By : Atmosic Technologies

Atmosic Technologies' ATM3 series of IoT reference designs optimizes power savings with photovoltaic energy harvesting.

Atmosic Technologies has released its new ATM3 series of Internet of Things (IoT) reference designs, expressly developed to optimize power savings with photovoltaic (PV) energy harvesting to provide manufacturers with flexible, compact and cost-efficient design possibilities for Bluetooth connected devices. The reference designs integrate Atmosic’s M3 Bluetooth 5 system-on-chip (SoC) with energy harvesting technology.

Atmosic’s Lowest Power Radio and On-demand Wakeup technologies deliver up to 10x the power efficiency of competitive solutions. The company has further enhanced power efficiency in the reference designs with integrated PV energy harvesting that significantly extends the battery life of IoT and consumer devices, enabling batteries to last the entire lifetime of the device to achieve “forever battery” life, or so they may operate without batteries, enabling “battery free” devices. Atmosic is providing photovoltaic energy harvesting designs for consumer applications as well as industrial designs.

The three reference designs—one for remote controls, another for keyboards and the third for beacons/sensors—are being released this quarter, during which time Atmosic is offering demonstration units, evaluation kits and “how to” design collateral to qualified manufacturers.

“These reference designs will make it easy for IoT and consumer product designers and manufacturers to create remote controls, keyboards and beacons/sensors that have ‘forever battery’ life or are completely battery free, thanks to the power and design efficiencies from Atmosic’s lowest-power BLE and photovoltaic energy harvesting technology,” said Srinivas Pattamatta, VP of Marketing & Business Development, Atmosic. “These are yet another set of proof points that showcase how focusing on low power and energy harvesting in every aspect of design will dramatically reduce, and in many cases eliminate altogether, the IoT’s dependence on batteries.”

With Atmosic’s photovoltaic technology maximizing the solutions’ power-capture qualities, each of the reference designs only requires a very compact photovoltaic cell (the miniature equivalent of a solar panel) that fits compactly within the end-product design to capture ambient sunlight or indoor light, which is then stored to be used as needed. The designs offer a variety of energy storage options, with each having been developed with the goal of the end product requiring as little power as possible to operate, thus driving operational efficiencies in end use deployments.

The benefits of “forever battery” life are lower operational hassles and costs with the operator or end user rarely or never having to expend resources to replace batteries. In industrial implementations of beacons, for example, hundreds and even thousands of beacons may be deployed in a manufacturing plant, shopping center or entertainment venue so the costs of battery replacement can be expensive—taking into consideration both the cost of new batteries and labor—in addition to being time consuming. For personal applications such as remotes and keyboards, the reliable operation of the device is a huge benefit—the user does not have to bother with the inconvenience of replacing batteries. And the benefits extend beyond immediate user advantages to the more pressing environmental need to dramatically reduce battery dependence among the increasing number of deployed IoT devices worldwide.

Each of the new reference designs Atmosic is releasing this quarter offer a unique set of design features optimized for the product’s specific use case and design requirements. The ATM3 reference design series features Atmosic’s ultra-low power Atmosic BLE with a power management unit (PMU) integrated directly onto the BLE chip to achieve space and cost efficiencies. The intelligent PMU features direct connection to the PV cell to maximize harvesting efficiency, and delivers the energy required for the BLE operation in real-time while also storing excess energy not needed for immediate use.

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