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Energy-neutral Sensing

Long-term sensing can deliver data of unprecedented resolution, driving key decisions on large areas of economic interest ranging from health, environment, agriculture, smart cities, to consumer applications. Powered by small size and low capacity, one of the major problems faced by sensing devices is the limited battery lifetime. Although battery technology has advanced over the years, many battery-based solutions tend to be impractical and costly due to the need of recharging or replacement. In addition to the added bulk, weight and size, and the potential of chemical leakages from the battery into the environment.

In recent years, energy harvesting which converts ambient energy such as solar, thermal, and vibrations into usable electrical power, has become a viable option to mitigate the problem of the energy resource limitation in sensing devices. However, energy harvesting generally suffers from dynamic, unpredictable, and low power output, which may challenge the power requirement of sensing devices. Our aim in this research is to make sure that the harvested energy will be able to replenish the energy that is being consumed enabling sensing devices to operate perpetually in an Energy Neutral state. By avoiding the use of batteries and surviving off energy harvested from the environment, tiny devices can perpetually measure and capture data about the world to support real-time decisions that increase productivity, protect the environment, enable industry and government services, and promote a healthy knowledge-based society.

Research Areas

KEH-Sense

Recent Advancements in energy harvesting hardware have created an opportunity for realizing energy-neutral self-powered sensing devices. Unfortunately, the power requirements of the continuous sensing using different sensors, such as accelerometers, and the burdensome on-node classification and communication are relatively high compared to the amount of power that can be practically harvested, which limit the energy harvesting’s usefulness. KEH-Sense is potentially game-changing technology in the drive towards self-powered sensing devices. It is a novel, ultra-low-power activity sensor for wearables and mobile devices.

Long-term Tracking

Long-term and large-scale tracking has a broad range of applications’ that include; livestock tracking, wildlife tracking and management of disease risks. Wireless sensor network technology has enabled us to track location and activity of animals at a high spatio-temporal resolution. Domain Scientists have been using radio-frequency tags for animal location tracking for decades. However, downloading data from the tags is either labour intensive or expensive. The process of downloading data from animals can be automated by deploying a fixed network of wireless receiver stations, base nodes or gateways. These nodes and gateways download and forward data from nearby animals to a central server. Many animals exhibit nomadic behaviour and can roam vast areas where sparse distribution of gateway nodes results in rare opportunities for wireless communication. Animal tag technology needs to use local data buffering and delay-tolerant network algorithms to be able to collect meaningful datasets.

Projects

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