Powercast Corporation has announced its Lifetime Power® Energy Harvesting Development Kit for Battery Charging. This RF-based energy harvesting kit is for engineers designing battery-based wireless sensor networks (WSNs). It features the THINERGY thin-film battery from Infinite Power Solutions (IPS), but it can also charge traditional rechargeable batteries.
This is the sort of disruptive technology that will enable all sorts of new and interesting market segments. Betteries, in particular, battery life has plagued wireless devices since they were invented. Nokia and others are also working on this type of technology for mobile phones. With the abundant and ever increasing available RF power "in the air", this has been begging development. I expect to see many more battery-less devices in the next few years.
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.