AdaptivEnergy and GainSpan Announce Technology Development Partnership in Support of Energy Harvesting Wi-Fi Sensor Networks

November 04, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

AdaptivEnergy and GainSpan Corp. have entered into a technology development partnership to further speed the development of energy harvesting to power Wi-Fi wireless sensor networks.

The potential market for energy harvesting solutions used in wireless sensor systems could reach approximately 164 million units by 2013, according to Darnell Group. Energy harvesting can provide energy not only for large scale needs through wind and solar systems, but also for smaller-scale needs such as sensor networks. Utilizing the movement of a person walking, or the vibrations inherent in structures, vehicles and machinery, the harvested energy can drive low power sensors while eliminating the need for batteries.

In one recent demonstration, a temperature and light sensor node using GainSpan’s technology is powered by AdaptivEnergy’s JTRB-e12 Energy Harvesting Ground Transport module. The sensor node sends temperature and light data through standard Wi-Fi access point and on to a web hosted application, using as the only power source the energy generated from a very small vibration – less than .040 grms. AdaptivEnergy has integrated Micropelt GmbH thermo-generator technology to power a GainSpan WiFi sensor node.

"This is an important technology partnership for us," said Jim Vogeley, CEO of AdaptivEnergy. "We are excited to unite AdaptivEnergy and GainSpan technologies in producing the first true Wi-Fi sensor solutions powered solely by micro energy harvesters. The ultra low power nature of GainSpan products opens up considerable new opportunities for battery-less autonomous intelligent sensor networks while also adding significant flexibility and functionality to our energy harvesting solutions."

"AdaptivEnergy’s technology offers groundbreaking capabilities in energy harvesting," said Bernard Aboussouan, Vice President of Marketing, GainSpan. "This demonstration is a very promising step towards availability of battery-less Wi-Fi sensor devices, and the progress made in energy harvesting and low power Wi-Fi opens a lot of opportunities for devices to track location and monitor the health of people and condition of assets."

AdaptivEnergy’s Joule-Thief™ is an advanced energy harvesting device that can use any movement, from the motion of a personal walking, flowing air or water, or even a door opening and closing to create and store electricity.

GainSpan’s GS1010 system-on-chip is described as the industry’s most highly integrated and lowest power consuming Wi-Fi semiconductor solution. The GS1010 contains an 802.11 radio, media access controller (MAC), baseband processor, on-chip flash memory, SRAM, and an applications processor in a single package. It provides a highly scalable, reliable, manageable, and secure wireless link for sensor networks and other embedded Wi-Fi applications.

In addition to the technology development partnership, both GainSpan and AdaptivEnergy have received investment and entered into strategic technology development agreements with In-Q-Tel, the independent investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community.