Researchers are increasingly looking for new ways to provide energy for low-power devices like wireless sensors without using batteries. One new way is by harvesting energy from other sources. Recently, a team of Viennese researchers came up with a way to harvest energy from airplanes to power sensors attached to a plane’s fuselage that can be used to monitor and collect data on aircraft structural health.
Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology, working with EADS Innovation Works, have developed and tested a thermoelectric Energy Harvesting Module that can leverage the temperature difference created when a plane takes off and lands, creating energy for nodes on the sensors. The sensors will be used to augment the high cost of maintenance on aircrafts by providing continuous monitoring of a craft, and transmitting that data to its maintenance system, researchers said.
Solar irradiation is the most optimum for energy harvesting that airliners can use but a system has to be capable of using multiple sources including vibration energy harvesting and temperature differentials the article is referring to. There are solutions available today but much improvements are needed.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.