PhD student Saurav Bandyopadhyay, under the guidance of professor Anantha Chandrakasan at MIT have developed a chip that could harness power from natural light, heat and vibrations in the environment and can operate at extremely low power levels
LONDON, UK: A control circuitry for an energy harvesting platform that can work with natural light, heat and vibrations has been developed by the researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Co-ordinating the energy sources in real-time to produce a constant usable output requires a specialized control system which has been designed in a chip developed by doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay, under MIT professor Anantha Chandrakasan, reports Peter Clarke of EETimes.
Many of these sources are intermittent and has the ability to combine solar, thermal and vibration energy sources. Therefore, multi-source architecture is able to capture and deliver power under wide and varied circumstances.
According to MIT thermoelectric harvest sources typically produce only 0.02 to 0.15 volts, while photovoltaic cells generate 0.2 to 0.7 volts while vibration sources can produce up to 5 volts. As of now the most common strategy has been to switch between the highest energy generation source, but wasting the energy input from other sources.
It has a dual-path architecture that allows energy to be used directly or to be stored and the switch matrix and the control circuits are implemented in a 0.35-micron CMOS process.