IDTechEx has been closely following the energy harvesting space for several years now. The high number of technologies, projects and innovative ideas put into practice demonstrate the far reaching nature of energy harvesting technologies and the variety of applications they can be incorporated into. In the following paragraphs, we take a look at some of the companies presenting and the themes that will be covered at this year's Energy Harvesting & Storage and Wireless Sensor Networks & RTLS USA conference in Boston, MA on the November 15-16
Wireless power transmission
Wireless power transmission is one of the topics that is attracting a lot of attention and will be part of the conference sessions. The basic principle of wireless charging is based on inductive coupling. Copper coils are strategically placed within the charging surface and the device, these coils determine not only the devices power needs, but also the battery life and charging cycles. Intelligent, two-way communication keeps these devices running at peak efficiency without compromising the life of the battery or the life of the device.
eCoupled™ Technology. Source: Gamber & Johnson
Leggett & Platt has partnered with Fulton Innovation to develop applications for Fulton's eCoupled™ technology that delivers power through advanced wireless infrastructure. Both of these companies will be presenting their technology developments at the conference. Leggett is the supplier for both low- and medium-power charging for eCoupled™ technology. The company's partnership with Fulton allows it to extend its use of eCoupled™ technology across multiple product segments.
Applications include, but are not limited to, automotive, residential and commercial furnishing sectors. Both Leggett & Platt and Fulton Innovation will be sharing their knowledge at the Energy Harvesting & Storage and Wireless Sensor Networks & RTLS USA event in Boston
Due to the variety of possible applications and different power levels required from different devices, there are several other companies active in this space. WiTricity, for instance, is also involved with the development of wireless power applications and will be giving a presentation at the Boston conference. The company's proprietary source and device designs and the electronic systems that control them support efficient energy transfer over distances that are many times the size of the sources/devices themselves. Tours to WiTricity will be available to a select number of conference delegates at the upcoming event.
Stretchable and flexible energy harvesting
Another topic of interest to be covered at the event is stretchable and flexible electronics and electrics. Examples of this include energy harvesters and control electronics that can be conformable and could eventually lead to innovative form factors, as well as, energy harvesters used in applications not previously possible due to size and shape constraints.
mc10, a company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts who will also be speaking at the Boston event, are developing technology that uses conventional, high performance (>GHz) semiconductors in conjunction with a proprietary interconnect and packaging technology that produces high yield, low cost, conformal electronics. At the same time, all of the company's materials and processes are compatible with industry standard CMOS production facilities.
Academic research is also looking into the field of multi-functionality and innovation in form factor, with examples of the work at Princeton University on piezoelectric ribbons printed onto rubber. The McAlpine group at Princeton - led by Professor Michael McAlpine - is working on two major themes: Nanoscale Piezoelectrics and Biomimetic Nanosensing. The development of a method for interfacing high performance inorganics with flexible, stretchable, and biocompatible polymers could yield breakthroughs in implantable or wearable systems. Latest achievements show how utilizing nanotechnology provides a route for overcoming challenges by altering the mechanics of materials while improving their performance.
Across the other side of the Atlantic ocean, at the University of Bolton in the UK, Professor Helias Siores and his group are developing hybrid piezoelectric/photovoltaic harvesting fibres, using scaleable processing and low cost, lead-free materials that could lead to innovative harvesters that could be producing energy come rain or sunshine. Professor Siores will be presenting on Wednesday, November 16.
Presentations from the above companies and academic institutions will give conference attendees the chance to discover all the latest trends in these, as well as many others fields of research where exciting energy harvesting related developments are taking place. The complete event will include not only presentations, but also a full exhibition, expert-led masterclasses, and tours to local area companies working in the field. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Boston