e-peas’ AEM10941 devices for photovoltaic energy harvesting are at the centre of the battery free animal tracking equipment used on Australian cattle ranches for Brisbane-based mOOvement.

mOOvement’s smart tracker acquires data on cattle herds’ position and grazing patterns and can set alarms if individual animals are stationary or have breached boundaries. The tracker is attached to one of the cattle’s ears. The tracker has an accelerometer, a LoRa communication module (with built-in MCU), a GPS transceiver and a passive NFC tag.

The size and weight of the battery free unit had to be low, restricting the surface size of the solar panel (19mm x 43mm), which would need to generate 0.089W. This required an ultra-efficient power management system. The units also have to be robust, with an expected lifespan of five years.

The full project took two years, with e-peas’ involvement lasting a year. The high energy conversion rate and the small footprint of the dual LDO regulated-output AEM10941 met this key criterion, as well as supporting a prolonged operational lifespan even in the Australian Outback, where exposure to extreme temperature conditions would be expected. Thousands of tracking units have already been deployed, with plans to scale further up in the near future.

The company is now extending its battery free technology to processor and sensor designs. “We believe the mass deployment of IoT devices will be through install and forget devices and the only way to reach that goal and bring intelligence to the edge device is combine energy harvesting with a dramatic reduction in power,” said Geoffroy Gosset, CEO and co-founder of e-peas. “So we have bult the power management side of the solution and other components that will offer dramatic reduction in power consumption – the next one is processing, then sensors. Beginning in 2020 we will have our first processing solution.”

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