Panelist Harry Zervos, a technology analyst with IDTechEx Ltd. argued
that there is a tide that is running in the direction of energy
harvesting. "Microgenerators and energy storage; ultra-low power
electronics; low-energy wireless transmission protocols; these three
coming together allows all sorts of things to happen. In building
controls, in industrial automation and in things like predictive
maintenance," he said.
Yeatman's response was that while there
was little doubt that WSNs [wireless sensor networks] would happen the
open question was whether they would be powered by microgenerators or by
batteries. "Replacing batteries is an enormous burden in many
applications. But you've got to get to very high volume to compete on
price. The case for energy harvesting is not proven. It's an open race.
We have to see what comes up."
Zervos said: "I am optimistic. We
see interest in the applications because people get the vision," to
which Yeatman responded: "In some cases technology can be too easy to
understand and this can produce unrealistic expectations; the idea that
you are going to have a non-charging cell phone, for example."
idea from the floor was that ultra-low power electronics would go even
lower through the use of near- and sub-threshold switching of
transistors and that would first be used to eke out batteries. However,
other audience members argued that such energy-sipping systems would be a
stimulus for the use of energy harvest measures instead of batteries.
moderator Gyselinckx asked the audience whether they were less or more
optimistic about energy harvesting than they were five years ago. Almost
no-one was less optimistic while many hands went up to indicate they
were more optimistic.
Dryers already monitor the clothes and switch off when they are dry. I just looked on Sears.com and the cheapest dryer I found has this feature: Auto Dry monitors air temperature with an automatic thermostat and ends the cycle when clothes are properly dried
The clothes dryer costs of the order of $300 - $600. Why would a "premium" of $5 be a problem?
Such consumer IoT devices will have to be sold for the sort of money that many people pay daily for a latte, and there is no reason why that price point cannot be achieved. Unlike the 5 cent RFID tag, there is still a real business in products which cost a few dollars each (with volumes eventually in the hundreds or millions or more).
I do not want to look polemic, but I am not convinced by Mr. Andosca's argument regarding cloth dryers.
I agree that this development could save power and money and I wish every dryer could feature those sensors. But on a practicle point of view, I do not see how a consumer would accept to pay a premium on a dryer for something which is not necessarily of huge interest. And I do not see why a dryer manufacturer would decide to include a new, non-mature device in its machine without a demand from the market. Appart from a governmental decision making mandatory such devices in dryers, I do not think there will ever be a market pull for this technology. This is typical techno-push.
This kind of reasoning applies to a lot of examples regarding energy harvesting!
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.