Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Analyzing energy potential

May 07, 2012
Sensors, radio transmitters and GPS modules all feature low power consumption. All it takes is a few milliwatts to run them. Energy from the environment - from sources such as light or vibrations - may be enough to meet these requirements. A new measurement device can determine whether or not the energy potential is high enough.

The freight train races through the landscape at high speed, the train cars clattering along the tracks. The cars are rudely shaken, back and forth. The rougher the tracks, the more severe the shaking. This vibration delivers enough energy to charge small electronic equipment: this is how the sensors that monitor temperatures in refrigerator cars, or GPS receivers, can receive the current they need to run.

Vibration replaces batteries

Experts refer to this underlying technology as "energy harvesting", where energy is derived from everyday sources such as temperature or pressure differences, air currents, mechanical movements or vibrations. But is this really enough to supply electronic microsystems? The answer is provided by a data logger that is also installed on board, a product by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits. This compact system analyzes and characterizes the potential of usable energy - in this case, the oscillations created during the ride. It measures key parameters of the source of the vibrations, such as the amplitude and the frequency spectrum of acceleration. "We can use the data collected to design vibration converters, such as the piezoelectric generators, to feed the sensors, radio transmission receivers, tracking systems and other low-power-consuming devices with enough energy to power them," explains the IIS group manager and engineer, Dr. Peter Spies. "The tracking systems in use to date run on just a battery. These batteries need constant replacement, but that involves a lot of effort and expense. Thanks to energy harvesting, we can replace the batteries and wiring." Logistics processes are not the only candidates, however. The energy "harvested" can be used for a great many other applications as well - to charge heart-rate monitors, sensors in washing machines and production plants, or measurement systems in cars to measure the air pressure in tires.

The elements of the data logger include an acceleration sensor, a GPS module, a micro-controller, an SD card and a WiFi interface. The sensor measures the freight train's acceleration along three axes. At the same time, the GPS module determines the vehicle's position and stores the data along with the acceleration values on the SD card. These parameters can be used to pinpoint the train's speed and the amount of energy available to it. "That way, we can fine-tune the energy converter and tailor it to the application involved," the researcher adds.

The data logger is already in use in freight cars, trucks and machinery. Spies and his team are currently working to develop a complete tracking system that includes not only a GSM module and a GPS receiver but also a vibration converter that turns mechanical energy into electrical energy. The researchers are showcasing a prototype of the IIS data logger at the Sensor+Test 2012 trade fair, May 22-24 in Nuremberg, in Hall 12, Booth 202.

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


Related Sensors Current Events and Sensors News Articles


Chiral breathing: Electrically controlled polymer changes its optical properties
Electrically controlled glasses with continuously adjustable transparency, new polarisation filters, and even chemosensors capable of detecting single molecules of specific chemicals could be fabricated thanks to a new polymer unprecedentedly combining optical and electrical properties.

'Dressed' laser aimed at clouds may be key to inducing rain, lightning
The adage "Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it," may one day be obsolete if researchers at the University of Central Florida's College of Optics & Photonics and the University of Arizona further develop a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning.

Scientists discover brain's anti-distraction system
Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders.

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone
Biologists at UC San Diego have succeeded in visualizing the movement within plants of a key hormone responsible for growth and resistance to drought.

Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities
Changes at the atom level in nanowires offer vast possibilities for improvement of solar cells and LED light. NTNU-researchers have discovered that by tuning a small strain on single nanowires they can become more effective in LEDs and solar cells.

Piezotronics and piezo-phototronics leading to unprecedented active electronics and optoelectronics
New technologies for developing electronics and optoelectronics with tunable/adaptive functionalities and performance are critical to emerging applications in wearable technology, communication, pervasive computing, human-machine interfacing and biomedical diagnostics, in which the active and adaptive interactions between devices and stimuli from the ambient/host (e. g. human body) are essential.

Tiny particles could help verify goods
Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report.

Self-assembled superlattices create molecular machines with 'hinges' and 'gears'
A combined computational and experimental study of self-assembled silver-based structures known as superlattices has revealed an unusual and unexpected behavior: arrays of gear-like molecular-scale machines that rotate in unison when pressure is applied to them.

Tiny power generator runs on spit
Saliva-powered micro-sized microbial fuel cells can produce minute amounts of energy sufficient to run on-chip applications, according to an international team of engineers.

Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring
Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring.
More Sensors Current Events and Sensors News Articles

Handbook of Modern Sensors: Physics, Designs, and Applications

Handbook of Modern Sensors: Physics, Designs, and Applications
by Jacob Fraden (Author)


The Handbook's coverage of sensors is extensive, ranging from simple photodiodes to complex devices containing components in combination. It offers hard-to-find reference data on the properties of numerous materials and sensing elements and emphasizes devices that are less well-known, whose technology is still being refined, and whose use permits the measurement of variables that were previously inaccessible.

Make: Sensors: A Hands-On Primer for Monitoring the Real World with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

Make: Sensors: A Hands-On Primer for Monitoring the Real World with Arduino and Raspberry Pi
by Tero Karvinen (Author), Kimmo Karvinen (Author), Ville Valtokari (Author)


Make: Sensors is the definitive introduction and guide to the sometimes-tricky world of using sensors to monitor the physical world. With dozens of projects and experiments for you to build, this book shows you how to build sensor projects with both Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Use Arduino when you need a low-power, low-complexity brain for your sensor, and choose Raspberry Pi when you need to perform additional processing using the Linux operating system running on that device.You'll learn about touch sensors, light sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetic sensors, as well as temperature, humidity, and gas sensors.

Sensor Technologies: Healthcare, Wellness and Environmental Applications

Sensor Technologies: Healthcare, Wellness and Environmental Applications
by Michael J. McGrath (Author), Cliodhna N? Scanaill (Author)


Sensor Technologies: Healthcare, Wellness and Environmental Applications explores the key aspects of sensor technologies, covering wired, wireless, and discrete sensors for the specific application domains of healthcare, wellness and environmental sensing.  It discusses the social, regulatory, and design considerations specific to these domains.

The book provides an application-based approach using real-world examples to illustrate the application of sensor technologies in a practical and experiential manner. The book  guides the reader from the formulation of the research question, through the design and validation process, to the deployment and management phase of sensor applications.  The processes and examples used in the book are primarily based on research...

Electronic Sensor Circuits & Projects, Volume III (Engineer's Mini Notebook)

Electronic Sensor Circuits & Projects, Volume III (Engineer's Mini Notebook)
by Forrest M. Mims III (Author)


Electronic sensor circuits convert light, temperature, sound, and other signals into a form that can be processed by electronic circuits. Learn about solar cells, photoresistors, thermistors, and magnet switches. Then build circuits that respond to heat, pressure, light, and more. This Engineer's Mini Notebook is a compilation of three of Forrest Mims's notebooks: Sensor Projects; Solar Cell Projects; and Magnet & Magnet Sensor Projects.

Getting Started with Sensors: Measure the World with Electronics, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi

Getting Started with Sensors: Measure the World with Electronics, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi
by Tero Karvinen (Author), Kimmo Karvinen (Author)


To build electronic projects that can sense the physical world, you need to build circuits based around sensors: electronic components that react to physical phenomena by sending an electrical signal. Even with only basic electronic components, you can build useful and educational sensor projects.

But if you incorporate Arduino or Raspberry Pi into your project, you can build much more sophisticated projects that can react in interesting ways and even connect to the Internet. This book starts by teaching you the basic electronic circuits to read and react to a sensor. It then goes on to show how to use Arduino to develop sensor systems, and wraps up by teaching you how to build sensor projects with the Linux-powered Raspberry Pi.

Beginning Sensor Networks with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

Beginning Sensor Networks with Arduino and Raspberry Pi
by Charles Bell (Author)


Beginning Sensor Networks with Arduino and Raspberry Pi teaches you how to build sensor networks with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and XBee radio modules, and even shows you how to turn your Raspberry Pi into a MySQL database server to store your sensor data!

First you'll learn about the different types of sensors and sensor networks, including how to build a simple XBee network. Then you'll walk through building an Arduino-based temperature sensor and data collector, followed by building a Raspberry Pi-based sensor node.
Next you'll learn different ways to store sensor data, including writing to an SD card, sending data to the cloud, and setting up a Raspberry Pi MySQL server to host your data. You even learn how to connect to and interact with a MySQL database server...

Building Wireless Sensor Networks: with ZigBee, XBee, Arduino, and Processing

Building Wireless Sensor Networks: with ZigBee, XBee, Arduino, and Processing
by Robert Faludi (Author)


Get ready to create distributed sensor systems and intelligent interactive devices using the ZigBee wireless networking protocol and Series 2 XBee radios. By the time you're halfway through this fast-paced, hands-on guide, you'll have built a series of useful projects, including a complete ZigBee wireless network that delivers remotely sensed data. Radio networking is creating revolutions in volcano monitoring, performance art, clean energy, and consumer electronics. As you follow the examples in each chapter, you'll learn how to tackle inspiring projects of your own. This practical guide is ideal for inventors, hackers, crafters, students, hobbyists, and scientists. Investigate an assortment of practical and intriguing project ideas Prep your ZigBee toolbox with an extensive shopping...

Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook, Second Edition: Two-Volume Set (Electrical Engineering Handbook)

Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook, Second Edition: Two-Volume Set (Electrical Engineering Handbook)
by John G. Webster (Editor), Halit Eren (Editor)


This new edition of the bestselling Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook brings together all aspects of the design and implementation of measurement, instrumentation, and sensors. Reflecting the current state of the art, it describes the use of instruments and techniques for performing practical measurements in engineering, physics, chemistry, and the life sciences; explains sensors and the associated hardware and software; and discusses processing systems, automatic data acquisition, reduction and analysis, operation characteristics, accuracy, errors, calibrations, and the incorporation of standards for control purposes. Organized according to measurement problem, the Second Edition: Consists of 2 volumes Features contributions from 240+ field experts Contains 53 new...

Professional Android Sensor Programming

Professional Android Sensor Programming
by Greg Milette (Author), Adam Stroud (Author)


Learn to build human-interactive Android apps, starting with device sensorsThis book shows Android developers how to exploit the rich set of device sensors—locational, physical (temperature, pressure, light, acceleration, etc.), cameras, microphones, and speech recognition—in order to build fully human-interactive Android applications. Whether providing hands-free directions or checking your blood pressure, Professional Android Sensor Programming shows how to turn possibility into reality.The authors provide techniques that bridge the gap between accessing sensors and putting them to meaningful use in real-world situations. They not only show you how to use the sensor related APIs effectively, they also describe how to use supporting Android OS components to build complete systems....

Darkness Divides: Book 3 (Sensor Series)

Darkness Divides: Book 3 (Sensor Series)


Book three of The Sensor Series.

The blood and violence never ends—it only stops long enough for Melena to relax her guard, to think she might actually survive. For the past year, she’s worked hard to pick up the pieces of her life. The supernaturals in Fairbanks are tolerating her, the angels are shielding her from her enemies, and she’s getting stronger as her body changes into…something else. If not for the man she loves being locked away in Purgatory, she might even believe she could be happy.

But for a sensor, peace is always an illusion. A magical explosion is about to rock the earth between Alaska and parts of Canada, bringing with it a new wave of fear. People she cares about will be hurt and she’s going to need answers. Are her enemies trying...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com