Maintenance-free sensor node operates without battery

Maintenance-free sensor node operates without battery

By eeNews Europe

Fraunhofer IPMS’ maintenance-free sensor node is implemented as an RFID tag that operates without battery, powered solely through the reader’s antenna. The sensor targets in the first place logistics applications. It enables users to establish intelligent sensor networks, consisting of multiple nodes.

As the connecting point between real and digital world, such sensor nodes are the necessary ingredient to turn logistics applications such as comprehensively and controlling industrial equipment profitable. Ideally such sensor systems are communicating wirelessly because wired connections increase the installation effort and also can affect the measurement results.

At the same time, the sensor nodes require a reliable power supply since such application environments typically are designed for multi-year operation. Battery-powered systems are, despite their widespread popularity, are not suited for such applications because frequent battery replacement significantly increases maintenance effort and cost.

The RFID sensor node developed at Fraunhofer IPMS solves both issues – complex wiring and battery exchange. The transponder integrated in the sensor node acquired the electric power needed for its operation from the electromagnetic (RF) field of the reader. Its modular architecture makes it possible to combine them with user-specific sensors.

The transponder system embraces functional units antenna, transponder IC and sensor. An integrated I2C or SPI interface connects to any external sensor. Since the system operates under a broad temperature range it can be used in a great variety of different applications.

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