Energy harvesting switch powers 2.4 GHz radio link

Energy harvesting switch powers 2.4 GHz radio link

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By eeNews Europe

“On one side, the 2.4 GHz demonstrator consists of a low-cost energy harvesting dual-switch, integrating a 2.4 GHz RF chip for communicating with sensor nodes and an NFC chip to commission the switch”, explained Matthias Poppel, EnOcean’s COO. “On the other end, a board with a LED light and control electronics receives the On/Off message as you press the first switch, dimming being controlled by the second switch actuator”.

The NFC chip allows installers or even consumers to configure the switch through any NFC-enabled smartphone. Because these switches do not require any wiring, and thanks to their long communication range (up to 3km outdoor), the devices could find use in many home automation or industrial applications, but also enable new connected applications.

“For examples in hospitals, a switch could be configured as a portable alert buttons, sending a personalized message the cell phone of a care worker” said Poppel.

When asked what was the radio protocol used, Poppel declined to specify. “At this stage, this is just a study to prove that a simple off-the-shelf energy-harvesting switch can power a radio link in the free ISM band”, said Poppel. Cost-wise, Poppel is confident that such switches would match consumers’ expectation compared to stick-in-place battery-powered solutions when produced in volume.

The company’s study was completed in January and it is still a bit early to define what will be the business plan, but in principle EnOcean doesn’t plan to make this proprietary. It wants to make people aware that battery-less energy-harvesting actuators can now communicate in the 2.4 GHz band, using any of the energy-harvesters that are the core of its business.

EnOcean also announced a Linux-based middleware with a library to interpret all EnOcean Protocols (e.g. ESP3, EEP, Security) and translate any sensor message from a logic level to an IP level so that other devices, servers and even cloud services can process it. EnOcean Link, as it is called, is available to OEMs as licensed software.

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